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Heavy rains fail to stop red tide in Bataan

- Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2012 - 12:00am

ANGELES CITY, Philippines – Recent heavy rains failed to dilute red tide microorganisms in the waters of Bataan where the plague has remained still deadly since last November, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said yesterday.

Teresita Gulle, head of BFAR-Central Luzon fish health department, said despite the recent rains, red tide was also reported in Balite Bay in Mati, Davao Oriental.

Gulle said the “four don’ts” remain enforced in Mariveles, Limay, Orion, Pilar, Balanga, Orani, Abucay and Samal towns in Bataan.

“This means don’t harvest, don’t sell, don’t buy, and don’t eat shellfish from the affected areas,” Gulle said, warning that consumption of affected shellfish could lead to fatal paralytic poisoning.   

She said laboratory tests also showed dangerous levels of red tide toxins in Dumanquillas Bay in Zamboanga del Sur, Murcielagos Bay in Zamboanga del Norte and Misamis Occidental, and Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar.

Gulle, however, said red tide microorganisms in shellfish meat samples gathered in Bataan indicated lower toxicity at 67 micrograms per 100 grams, down from over 200 micrograms. The tolerable limit is 60 micrograms.

“Once the red tide level goes down within tolerable limits, weekly laboratory studies will be conducted and the red tide ban will be lifted only after three successive laboratory tests yield tolerable results,” she said.

In Masinloc Bay in Zambales, where red tide was reported earlier this year, the plague has not returned, she said.

Gulle said BFAR gathers shellfish meat samples weekly from various bodies of water nationwide to ensure the safety of shellfish consumers.

She said the rainy season is not a factor in lessening the red tide threat, noting that there are species of red tide microorganisms that proliferate during the rainy season while others spawn during the summer months.  

ABUCAY AND SAMAL BALITE BAY BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES CENTRAL LUZON DAVAO ORIENTAL DUMANQUILLAS BAY EASTERN SAMAR IN MASINLOC BAY MATARINAO BAY RED TIDE
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