BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
“Shellfish in Negros Occidental is safe to eat,” Marian Jill Abeto, provincial head of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources assured yesterday, following reports of several areas in the country hit by red tide.
Abeto said that even if Negros Occidental remains free from red tide, the Office of the Provincial Agriculture continues to monitor the seawaters of the province and submit their report to BFAR.
She said BFAR immediately releases an advisory when a change in toxicity level is noted in the seawater of a certain area, even if it is just a slight difference.
BFAR, in an advisory dated Feb. 8, declared the coastal waters of the municipalities of E.B Magalona and Hinigaran, and that of the cities of Victorias, Silay, and Bacolod as red tide-free.
The same advisory also cleared the seawaters of Bais Bay and Silt Bay in Siaton, Negros Oriental, free from red tide so seashells from these areas are safe for human consumption.
Only the seashells from Tambobo Bay in Siaton are not safe for consumption as the toxicity level in this area is high, it added.
Abeto said that red-tide usually happens when rain occurs following a long drought that triggers the reproduction of toxic algae in the ocean, or scientifically known as algae bloom. Red-tide or paralytic shell poisoning is harmful to humans, and may cause difficulty in breathing leading to death due to cardiac arrest, she said.*