Demand for fish unaffected by ‘red tide’ scare

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014


FISH sellers revealed that the sales of fish have remained normal amid reports of ‘red tide’ that hit several areas all over Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental and some parts of Lanao del Norte.

“The perceived red tide hasn’t really affected the demand here at the fish port; so far it didn’t even decline for a single day. The fishing vessels that are docked here reported that they have seen several areas out in the open sea that showed signs of red tide but they immediately moved to areas that didn’t show any problems,” said Chona Sevillano, barangay council member of Loyongbonbon in Opol town, Misamis Oriental.
READ: Fish growers lose thousands in 'red tide'

Reports from the personnel of the Opol fish port which is managed by the Loyongbonbon council suggests that over the past two weeks retailers and buyers have not decreased their demand of the fish coming into the port.

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“Buyers here range from nearby residents to big trucks supplying fresh fish such as sardines (tamban) to markets all over Cagayan de Oro and parts of Misamis Oriental, so far it hasn’t changed a bit. We are selling like hot cakes, right now we have sardines at 10 pesos per kilo because the supply over the past few days have been high,” said Jennifer Macajilas, a 37-year-old fish vendor and resident of Opol town.

Liza Raagas, a 53-year-old bangus (milkfish) vendor at Carmen market, said that sales in Carmen haven’t been affected at all by the news of red tide.

“I think it’s only all rumors because our sales haven’t really been affected at all and other vendors here haven’t received complaints from customers. We’ve heard over the radio about the red tide last week, and for two days our sales dipped but we didn’t attribute it to the red tide but to the preference of our customers,” said Raagas.

Raagas suggested that government agencies should act fast in confirming and investigating reports before letting out news of such situation because it might scare the consumers.

Diony Zapico, 43, who is also a fish vendor at the Carmen market confirmed Raagas’ claim but calls the government for measures to address the incident properly.

“The Holy Week is the time of the year where the demand for fish is at the highest, we hope that government agencies tasked in handling the red tide issue would be able to clear this situation to stop the fears of the people, our buyers. So far, we can assure our customers that our products are free and haven’t been affected by the red tide,” said Zapico.

Angelilah Cabig, information officer of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) region 10, explained that their office has already sent out news on the issue of red tide.

“We held a press conference last Thursday, April 10 and assured the public that even with the red tide we are certain that the fish are safe for consumption as long as they are fresh and prepared properly. Our team has confirmed that the cause of the red tide comes from the harmful algal bloom which is non-toxic to humans. As of the moment, we cannot finally rule out the existence of red tide within Misamis Oriental area as our teams are currently investigating and validating the reports,” said Cabig.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 15, 2014.

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