By Connie Calipay
LEGAZPI CITY – The coastal water of Milagros town in Masbate province is positive for red tide toxin, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said on Monday.
Rowena Briones, BFAR-Bicol spokesperson, said based on their monitoring, the shellfish samples collected off Milagros have turned out positive for paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) or red tide toxin.
“To safeguard the public, BFAR-Bicol conducted information dissemination in the area with the help of local authorities. We coordinated with the local government unit to urge the public to refrain from gathering, transporting, selling, buying, and eating all types of shellfish and ‘alamang’ (small shrimp) from the affected coastal water to avoid shellfish poisoning,” Briones said in an interview.
She said they also submitted water samples to the BFAR central office to verify the result.
“While waiting for the result, we are closely monitoring the area. We must ensure the safety of the consuming public and protect the fishing industry,” she added.
Briones said the three remaining red tide monitoring areas in Bicol are negative for red tide toxin.
“For Sorsogon Bay, Juan Lagoon in Matnog, Sorsogon and coastal waters of Mandaon also in Masbate, they are all negative for red tide, and shellfish in these areas are safe for consumption,” she said.
Briones added that fish, squid, regular shrimps, and crabs are safe for human consumption, provided they are fresh and thoroughly washed. Internal organs such as gills and intestines must also be removed before cooking.
The usual symptoms of PSP are tingling, numbness of the mouth and extremities, and gastrointestinal discomforts such as vomiting and diarrhea.
In severe cases, difficulty in swallowing and speech paralysis with respiratory arrest, and even death can occur. (PNA)