A Couple Dies After Eating Shellfish In Surigao Del Sur

Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur is now positive for Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning.

IMAGE Aldwin Aspillera

On November 27, 2019, Leonito Namoc and wife Lucia passed away due to shellfish poisoning after consuming shellfish from Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur. According to the Philippine News Agency, the couple who are locals from Surigao del Sur consumed uncooked shellfish, locally known as "kinilaw," before losing consciousness.

The couple's unfortunate deaths happened a day after the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Caraga Region (BFAR-13) issued a local red tide warning stating that water samples from Lianga Bay tested positive with a toxic microorganism that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. This type of shellfish poisoning is present in mollusks that accumulate a toxin called saxitoxin which is produced by phytoplankton.

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On November 28, the Burea of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources issued the Shellfish Advisory No. 21 which confirms that Lianga Bay (which covers the areas of Lianga, Barobo, San Agustin, and Marihatag) is indeed positive for Paralytic Shellfish Poison. The findings show that the shellfish caught from Lianga Bay has a toxin level of 130.34 to 417.32 μgSTXeq/100g when the normal amount should be below 60 μgSTXeq/100g only.

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The BFAR assures the public that despite the presence of the red tide, the fish harvested at Lianga Bay is safe for consumption. They said, "fish harvested from the said areas are safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly and their internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking."

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In a separate bulletin post by the BFAR posted on November 28, there are more areas in the Philippines that are still positive for the Paralytic Shellfish Poison. Based on the latest laboratory findings, the cities are: Pangasinan (Sual); Pampanga; Bataan (Mariveles, Limay, Orion, Pilar, Balanga, Hermosa, Orani, Abucay, and Samal); Palawan (Puerto Princesa Bay and Puerto Princesa City); Bohol (Dauis and Tagbilaran); Tacloban City; and Western Samar (Irong-Irong, San Pedro, and Silanga Bays).

Due to this recent incident, the BFAR-13 is refraining the public from eating, gathering, harvesting, transporting, and marketing shellfish from Lianga Bay while, with the help of LGUs, they are closely monitoring Lianga Bay to ensure the protection of the people and its fishing industry.

For more information, follow the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources on Facebook.

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