ALARMED by the report that a woman died and 25 others were hospitalized after eating mussels gathered from red-tide infected water of Bolinao, officials of Dagupan City are not taking chances.
Mayor Belen Fernandez ordered the City Agriculture Office (CAO) to further intensify its red tide-watch, intercepting trucks delivering shellfishes from western Pangasinan in the highways.
The National Red Tide Task Force of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) issued a bulletin last Dec. 5 confirming the presence of red tide toxins in the coastal water of Bolinao, Anda and Alaminos City, in addition to Bani whose water was earlier declared as red tide affected.
City Agriculture Officer Emma Molina has also expressed reluctance to issue an auxiliary invoice to any oyster producer in Dagupan who may want to transport their products to other places since a contaminated shipment from other places could be blamed on the city.
Molina said as a precaution, consumers need to know the distinguishing features of locally cultured oysters compared to the oysters from western Pangasinan.
The Dagupan oyster is smaller in size, black in color and its shell is soft. These oysters are cultured in the Dagupan rivers. Oysters from western Pangasinan are relatively bigger, whitish in color and their shells are a little harder because they are cultured in seawater.
But Dagupan residents can be rest assured by the study conducted by Dr. Westly Rosario, chief of the National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center (NIFTDC) that Dagupan has no history of red tide. (Leonardo Micua)