BFAR issues stern warning vs. shellfish consumption as toxin kills 2 in Biliran

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has issued stern warning against consumptions of shellfish in red tide-infested bays in Eastern Visayas after two persons died and six others were downed due to poisoning in Biliran province.

The BFAR regional office here said that for several months, the contamination thrives in Irong Irong and Cambatutay Bays in Samar; Carigara Bay in Leyte; coastal waters of Leyte, Leyte; Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; and coastal waters of Naval, Biliran. Early this month, the phenomenon expanded to Calubian, Leyte.

BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo reminded local government units and coastal communities not to take the shellfish ban lightly.

The fisheries bureau reported that an old man and a girl from Biliran province died last week due to paralytic shellfish poisoning after eating leaf oysters harvested in Naval waters and nearby Carigara Bay in Leyte.

Authorities identified the victims as Agustin Dacallos, 81, of Balaquid village, Cabucgayan, Biliran and Daisy Espina, 9, of nearby Tucdao village in Kawayan town. The old man succumbed on Dec. 21 while the girl died after two days.

Six of their neighbors have been admitted at the Biliran Provincial Hospital after suffering paralytic shellfish poisoning.

With this incident, the fisheries bureau reiterated its call to local government units to assist in the information drive and enforcement of shellfish ban, which strictly prohibits consumption, trading, and transport of shellfish gathered from infested bays.

"It's unfortunate that these incidents happen despite effort to warn the public starting from the onset of red tide recurrence," Alabaladejo said.

"We reiterate our public advisory to refrain from eating, harvesting, marketing, and buying shellfishes and Acetes sp. from affected bays until such time that the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory level."

Fish, squid, shrimp and crab are safe to eat "provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking," according to BFAR.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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