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Intensified monitoring | Info campaign aims to protect shellfish consumers

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource (BFAR) XI is intensifying its red tide monitoring systems in points of origin and neighboring areas of Balite Bay, Mati City, Davao Oriental and the coastal waters of Santa Maria in Davao Occidental.

“In case this will spread in other areas we need to see to it that there’s an accompanying document that will prove our source of breeders are from areas that are not affected by any red tide organisms,” BFAR XI Fisheries Production and Support Services Division (FPSSD) Chief Raul C. Millana said on Monday.

Millana said they are in close coordination with the concerned Local Government Unit (LGU) in conducting information and awareness campaigns “to inform them regarding the menace” and to update them on the results of their weekly collection of samples.

“The most important thing we do is we have to inform our provincial fisheries officers regarding the movement of shellfish that those that are from the affected areas should not be brought to areas that are red tide free to avoid another incidence,” Millana said.

BFAR XI Chemistry Laboratory Regional Head Maria Loida Avorque added that red tide incidence cannot be avoided since it is a natural phenomenon “especially now that waters are already polluted.”
“We have continuous monitoring and, we have observed through statistics that usually, after a long drought or the temperature is high, a red tide incident occurs when the heavy rains come,” Avorque explained.

This developed as sales of shellfish and other seafood fell at the city’s biggest market in Bankerohan since the reports broke out over the weekend.

Vendor Shiela said they experienced a very low sale since Sunday morning as customers apparently feared to buy shells.

Dave Kher Donos, a BFAR XI technical staff, said seashells sold at legitimate stalls at any of the city’s public markets are safe from red tide.

Donos, in an interview with ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol Southern Mindanao, said that seashell supplies in the city are not from any of the red tide hit areas.

He said they are also constantly doing monitoring and inspection of the supply.

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