Marine scientists are planning to study the occurrence of red tide in Palawan, noting its consistent presence in various parts of the province including Puerto Princesa City.
The University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) said Puerto Princesa City and some areas in Palawan have been identified as “most affected” by the red tide or harmful algal blooms (HABs) and a study is needed to identify its causes and possible solutions.
UPMSI chief scientist Dr. Deo Onda said the shellfish from Puerto Princesa Bay, for instance, cannot still be consumed due to the continuing presence of HABs.
“Puerto Princesa City has been affected by the red tide for a long time now and it already has big impacts, one of which is economic losses. Our objective is to talk with policymakers and other agencies to discuss the scientific endeavors and how come up with an idea to help the locality,” Onda said.
“Tumataas ng husto ang kaso ng red tide sa Pilipinas at kailangan natin malaman kung bakit at papaano ito pigilan,” he added.
Dr. Lilibeth Salvador-Reyes, an expert on drugs and toxin discovery from Bacolod, said they plan to identify solutions and preventive measures to address red tide occurrence.
“Our goal is to develop partnerships with local government units (LGUs) because we will be able to develop solutions or at least form preventive measures. We are planning to actually have a plan such as sea threats detection such as fish kill, and monitoring of water quality para bago pa man magkaroon ng red ride or other incidents ay may preparation ang lahat,” she said.
Reyes said that they will also need to identify the specific socio-economic effects of red tide with the different sectors in order to formulate possible alternative livelihoods in partnership with the LGUs.
“Kaya kami nandito kasi we want to address this problem and help the community. We consider it as a disaster although a slow chronic disaster,” Reyes said.
This week, the team will conduct a National Algal Bloom Conference in Puerto Princesa with delegates from Southeast Asian countries, policymakers and researchers from different areas.