Cebu seafood ‘safe to eat’

Cebu seafood ‘safe to eat’
File photo

AMID the red tide alarm raised in various seas in some parts of Visayas and Mindanao, waters in Cebu remain safe, according to a fisheries official.

Laila Bragat, information officer of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) 7, said fisheries products from the bodies of water in Cebu are good for human consumption, particularly shellfish.

“So, we advise the public to continue eating our shellfishes because all of our shellfish are safe,” she said on Friday, Dec. 8, 2023.

Bragat said red tide occurs when certain algae proliferate, causing water to turn reddish. While not all are harmful, some produce toxins posing risks to marine life and human health.

She said that shellfish such as clams are directly affected by red tide since they are filter feeders meaning “whatever comes inside their mouths, they consume it.”

Red tide alert

Earlier this month, the Bfar central office in Quezon City released a bulletin indicating elevated red tide levels in coastal waters in certain areas of Visayas and Mindanao.

The announcement followed after tests were conducted on shellfish collected revealing positive results for paralytic shellfish poison or toxic red tide beyond the regulatory limit.

The government imposes a strict prohibition on shellfish harvesting in affected areas if the level of toxins exceeds the maximum regulatory limit of 60 micrograms per 100 grams of shellfish meat.

The areas identified by the agency include Sapian Bay (Ivisan and Sapian in Capiz; Mambuquiao and Camanci, Batan in Aklan); coastal waters of Roxas City in Capiz; coastal waters of Pontevedra in Capiz; and coastal waters of Gigantes Islands, Carles in Iloilo.

The advisory also includes Dumanquillas Bay in Zamboanga del Sur, Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur, coastal waters of San Benito in Surigao del Norte and the closest to Cebu is the coastal waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol.

Northern Cebu

Bragat clarified that they have resolved the red tide alert issued in northern Cebu last early November.

Initial regional tests detected toxins, but confirmatory tests from the central office indicated otherwise.

“A businessman in northern Cebu has requested to run tests on his shellfish and one scallop tested positive, causing concern in the office as scallop harvesting is a significant livelihood, especially for island residents,” she explained.

During that period, Bragat said they collaborated with the local government units of Bogo City, Medellin, and Bantayan, Sta. Fe, and Madridejos in Bantayan Island, to address the concern.

However, she urged the public to always adhere to prohibitions raised in times of red tides. She advised to refrain from harvesting, selling, buying, or consuming shellfish and acetes in areas affected by red tide toxins.

The agency though assured the safety of fish, squids, shrimps, and crabs if they are fresh, thoroughly washed, and cooked with removed internal organs like gills and intestines.

Meanwhile, leading up to Christmas, the prices of fish at the Carbon Public Market in Cebu City have remained steady.

On Monday, Dec. 11, most fish vendors were selling bangus (milkfish) and tilapia for P200 per kilo each.

Galunggog (round scad) was priced between P220 and P240 per kilo, while alumahan (Indian mackerel) ranged from P150 to P220 per kilo.

According to a vendor, there has been no increase in fish prices, so they sell to consumers at normal prices.


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