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Capiz fishermen prepare to sail away as red tide clears

ROXAS CITY, Capiz (PIA) -- The members of the Dayao Fisherfolks Association in Barangay Dayao in this city are gearing up for busier days ahead as coastal waters in the province were cleared from Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP).

According to Shellfish Bulletin No. 1 of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources issued last Jan. 11 declared the remaining red tide–affected Pontevedra town as free from contamination.

Members of the Dayao Fisherfolks Association with BFAR Capiz Provincial Office employees during the turnover of cooking utensils for oyster-based foods production, (Photo by Ronnie Dadivas FB Page)

The association received P104,255.00 worth of cooking utensils from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources last month as part of the supposed intervention to provide the fishermen and fisherfolk with alternative sources of income amid the toxic red ride contamination.

BFAR provincial manager Edwin Javier led the distribution of utensils after the association members had completed training on the production of oyster sauce, smoked oyster, and oyster-based chips and “kropeks.”

"We will produce these products starting next week," said Dayao Fisherfolks Association president Marcel Vasquez, noting that oyster supply will now be sufficiently available with fishing activities "back to normal."

The red tide phenomenon caused affected local government units to stop the harvest, transport, and consumption of shellfish and “alamang” because of the PSP toxicity level that is beyond the regulatory limit.

“Sapian Bay consisting of the municipal waters Ivisan and Sapian towns and Roxas City was declared red-tide free last Dec. 21, while the coastal water of Panay and President Roxas were declared free from the PSP contamination last Dec. 1,” said BFAR Capiz Provincial Office Public Information Officer Lorelyn Ofalla.

The onset of red tide toxin last August 2023 was first reported in Pilar town because of the 32 PSP suspected cases, which include one death from the locality, as well as Pontevedra town, and Roxas City.

The identified cases manifested numbness, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, among others, after eating green mussels or “tahong.”

The provincial government has established the Red Tide Monitoring team to carry out the weekly monitoring of the PSP developments through the Capiz Agri-Aqua Laboratory at the Office of the Provincial Building along Mabini Street.

The team is composed of, among others, aquaculturists, and field personnel, finding out the physical parameters like acidity, salinity, oxygen level, and temperature of water aside from the collection of shellfish for meat samples.

It has also distributed family food packs to the fisherfolk in the city and municipalities thru a created Task Force Pagdumdom (to remember).

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. also led the distribution of a 25-kilogram of rice to each of 1,000 red-tide-affected families in the city in the Capiz Gymnasium of the Villareal Stadium in this province. (AGP/AAL/PIA Capiz)

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