Red tide alert still up in Mati

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/14 September) — The red tide alert covering Balete Bay in the northwestern side of the Pujada Bay, in Mati, Davao Oriental remains, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 11 said.

During the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao on Monday, BFAR 11 director Fatma Idris told reporters the red tide phenomenon is attributed to the sudden changes in temperature and siltation in the bay.

She added the phenomenon, also known as algal bloom, occurs when there is a large concentration of aquatic microorganisms called “dinoflagellates and the bloom takes on red or brown color.”

The red tide will not go unless the siltation, which triggers the recurrence of the phenomenon will be addressed.

“In the past, there has been red tide in Balete Bay but it recurs this year,” she added in a phone interview.

Idris advised local consumers to be vigilant in eating shellfish sourced from the Balete Bay, as this may result in paralysis, or worse, death, if consumed.

She clarified that consumers in Davao City need not to worry of the shellfish sold at wet markets as these are safe and sourced from Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur and Samal Island in Davao del Norte.

Other seafoods sold at wet markets are also safe, she added.

Operators of shimp hatcheries in the region are also encouraged to secure a health certification from the BFAR 11.

Idris said only five operators have so far been accredited to sell fries to the growers in the region.

“Those who are selling fries at cheaper cost baka meron sakit and may affect other shrimps,” she warned.

The aquaculture industry, the official said, will take centerstage in the 17th Davao Agri Trade Expo on September 25 to 27, at the SMX Convention Center at SM Lanang Premier in cooperation with Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. and Mindanao Integrated Aquaculture Association.

BFAR 11 and MIAA wil hold a seminar on September 26 for those who want to learn about the opportunities in the aquaculture industry and in the upcoming Asean Economic Community which will take effect in December this year.

One of the topics will be the Post-Harvest Processing HACCP, or the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.

MIAA president Dr. Alex Tan, who is also the chief of BFAR’s National Mariculture Center, will talk about bangus polyculture. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)