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The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), on its Shellfish Bulletin No. 14 dated August 9, imposed a shellfish ban on Puerto Princesa Bay due to the presence of toxic microorganisms triggering the red tide phenomena.

The public advisory said that shellfish samples collected from the Puerto Princesa Bay tested “positive for paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) that is beyond regulatory limit”.

Consuming shellfish with red tide toxins may affect an individual’s nervous system within 30 minutes. Initial reactions may include tingling, first in the lips and tongue, spreading to the face, neck, fingertips, and toes.

Other symptoms include 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.

BFAR warned that all types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang gathered from Puerto Princesa Bay are not safe for human consumption.

Fish, squid, shrimp, and crab are safe to eat “provided they are fresh and washed thoroughly and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking.

Red tide is a term used to describe a phenomenon where the water is discolored by high algal biomass or the concentration of algae.

The discoloration may not necessarily be red in color. They may also appear yellow, brown, green, blue or milky, depending on the organisms involved.

Shellfish collected from Honda Bay in Barangay Sta. Lourdes and coastal waters of inner Malampaya Sound in Taytay town are free from toxic red tides.