TACLOBAN City – With three bays in Eastern Visayas infested with red tide, and with the proliferation of online sellers due to community quarantine, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-8) urged consumers to ensure that shellfish bought online are safe for human consumption.
BFAR-8 regional director Juan Albaladejo advised buyers to ask online sellers for the source of the shellfish they are selling.
He added that online sellers, just like the sellers on markets, need to show its proof of origin by showing the auxiliary invoice issued by the local government unit where the shellfish came from.
The sellers also need to ask for a local transport permit (LTP) issued by BFAR.
“As part of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and concern for food safety, online sellers should be conscious enough to practice these to get consumers loyalty and as value addition to the product because you are assuring consumer protection,” he urged.
BFAR has issued Local Shellfish Advisories for Cancabato Bay ( Tacloban City); Matarinao Bay (General MacArthur, Hernani, Quinapondan, and Salcedo in Eastern Samar); and Carigara Bay (Babatngon, San Miguel, Barugo, Carigara, and Capoocan, Leyte).
The public was advised to refrain from gathering, selling, and eating all types of shellfishes and Acetes sp. locally known as “alamang or hipon” from these areas.
Albaladejo explained that the phenomenon was still due to the prevailing weather condition in the region.
“Long dry-out period then a sudden downpour, produces series of upwelling, moving the sediments laden with cyst stages of red tide microorganisms, and exposing it to high densities organic matter causing the red tide blooms,” the official explained.
He added that areas that previously had episodes of red tide occurrence were more likely to experience its recurrence.