ANGELES CITY ,Philippines – An expert of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) yesterday said the red tide situation in Bataan has become so severe that anyone eating shellfish harvested from the affected areas could feel symptoms of poisoning in 20 minutes.
BFAR regional red tide technician Perdita Eulle told The STAR that latest tests on shellfish samples gathered off the coast of Bataan revealed 469 micrograms of red tide microorganisms per 100 grams of shellfish meat, significantly higher than the tolerable limit of 60 micrograms.
Gathering and eating of shellfish gathered off the coasts of Balanga City and the towns of Samal, Orion, Orani, Abucay, Hermosa and Mariveles, all in Bataan, as well as the waters of Masinloc, Zambales has been prohibited since last November, Eulle said.
“Anyone who ingests shellfish meat with such level of toxicity will feel the symptoms of poisoning within 20 minutes,” she said. The initial symptoms include numbness in the lip area, dizziness and vomiting.
Eulle said red tide victims should be rushed immediately to the hospital. In the meantime, they could be made to drink “kakang gata” or the juice first extracted from coconut meat to induce vomiting.
She said latest tests indicated that shellfish samples taken from Masinloc Bay in Zambales had much less toxicity at 69 micrograms per 100 grams, but even this would be poisonous.
“There is no saying how long the red tide plague will be there, but the situation could last and there have been instances in the past when red tide persisted for years. In the case of Masinloc, red tide has always been an off-and-on situation,” she said.
Eulle said the BFAR conducts weekly tests of shellfish samples taken from the affected areas. - By Ding Cervantes