The health warning issued in January by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) against consuming potentially toxic shellfish in Puerto Princesa Bay has been lifted.

A BFAR bulletin issued on February 7 said shellfish samples collected from the area are now “red tide toxin” negative.

“Based on the results of red tide monitoring activities of the BFAR and the local government unit, shellfish samples collected from Puerto Princesa Bay in Palawan are now negative for the red tide toxin. Negative results for Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) were obtained from three consecutive weeks of sampling in the area,” said the advisory that was signed by BFAR Undersecretary Eduardo Gongona.

Shellfish harvested from the city bay are now “safe for human consumption,” the bulletin said, including the gathering and selling in public markets.

Red tide is a coastal water discoloration phenomenon due to high algal biomass or concentration of algae.

When a shellfish with red tide toxin is consumed, the poison can affect an individual’s nervous system within 30 minutes. Initial reactions include tingling, first in the lips and tongue, spreading to the face, neck, fingertips, and toes.

Symptoms include a headache, dizziness, and nausea. In severe cases, people may experience muscular paralysis and respiratory difficulty within 5 to 12 hours. Fatalities from respiratory paralysis have been reported.