January 29, 2016 12:20 AM
By: Maricyn A. De los Santos
POLICE IN ILOILO will help the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-6) ensure that red tide-contaminated shellfish will not be sold or reach Iloilo City and provincial markets.
BFAR-6 sought IPPO’s assistance after it received reports of shellfish from red tide-infested areas being sold in Iloilo City markets.
Senior Supt. Roderick Augustus Alba, provincial director, Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) issued a directive to police stations to assist fishery law enforcers in monitoring and setting up checkpoint in their areas of responsibility to prevent entry of shellfish, particularly oysters contaminated with red tide, in Iloilo City.
Carlito Delfin, assistant regional director of BFAR-6, said the agency is in the process of creating a committee that will monitor and test shellfish in Iloilo City markets to ensure its safe to eat.
Inspector Vicente O. Vicente, IPPO operations chief, said they are still planning how to conduct shellfish checkpoints vis-à-vis the election checkpoints relative to the gun ban implementation.
“We will conduct inspections in national highways where dealers of oysters pass by,” he said.
“Representatives of BFAR will assist us to identify the shellfish, particularly those from Pilar and Sapian, that are not safe to eat,” he added.
In its Shellfish Bulletin No. 02, dated Jan. 22, 2016, BFAR confirmed the presence of red tide in six Western Visayas towns – Pilar and Sapian (Sapian Bay) in Capiz; Altavas, Batan and New Washinton (Batan Bay) in Aklan; and Gigantes Islands in Carles, Iloilo.
These towns are among the areas that are “still positive for paralytic shellfish poison that is beyond the regulatory limit.”
BFAR strongly advised against harvesting, selling, buying and eating of shellfish from these areas.
“All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang (hipon) gathered from these areas are not safe for human consumption,” the agency said in its advisory.
Fish, squids, shrimps, and crabs are safe for human consumption provided they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking.
Meanwhile, the following areas continue to be free from toxic red tide – coastal waters of Panay, President Roxas and Roxas City in Capiz.
In Negros Occidental, confirmed free from red tide are the coastal waters of E. B. Magalona, Pontevedra, Pulupandan, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, San Enrique, and Valladolid; cities of Talisay, Silay, Valladolid, Bacolod, Cadiz, Bacolod, Victorias, and Bago.
According of BFAR, red tide is a term used to describe all phenomena which the water is discolored by high algal biomass or concentration of algae. The discoloration may not necessarily be red in color but it may also appear yellow, brown, green, blue or milky, depending on the organisms involved. It may either be harmful or harmless.
BFAR data showed that between 1983 and 2002, a total of 2,122 paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) cases with 117 deaths affecting all age group were reported.
Red tide is also an economic problem.
“During the 1988, 1992 and 1993 outbreaks, Japan and Singapore have banned shrimp import from the Philippines,” BFAR said.