Brunei waters still affected by red tide

Borneo Post, 13 Feb 2013

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, has announced that according to latest information on February 11, 2013 Brunei waters are still affected by the Red Tide phenomenon, Borneo Bulletin reported.

Thus the ban on catching fish and shellfish from the affected areas as well as collecting dead fish and shellfish from the Brunei waters will remain in force, it said in a press statement.

As a precautionary measure, the public has been reminded to completely remove the guts, gills and other internal organs of fish before cooking and to abstain from eating small fish whose gills, guts and internal organs cannot be removed as well as Molluscan shellfish and fish from affected areas and of unknown origin.

The statement further stated that the Department of Fisheries would continuously monitor the Red Tide situation and the public, fishermen in particular, can assist the department by reporting any discolouration or any mass fish mortality in our waters and beaches by calling 2770066 (during office hours), 8614867, 8878833 or 8787337

Red Tide detected off Labuan

Daily Express, 3 Mar 2013

Labuan: Fisheries Director Zainudin b Hj. Abd. Wahab said Red Tide poisoning was detected in Labuan waters as of 11.40am Friday near Pulau Papan which is 600m from the island. He said the survey made by the Fisheries Department found the area enclosed by the Red Tide was about three to four hectares. Samples sent to the fisheries laboratory in Likas found that the Red Tide is of the Pyrodinium bahamense var. compressum kind with a very high concentration reaching 473,600 cells/liter and this is known as “Algae Bloom”. The level considered dangerous to humans is 5,000 cells/liter. Very high concentrations will cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) of the muscles that can cause death. The Department expects the Red Tide to last for about two weeks. Chances are the red tide will be swept away towards Pulau Daat, Menumbok, Sipitang and Lawas, he said.

The public, especially Labuan residents, are advised not to eat sea products such as snails, shells and fish, especially small pelagic fish like selayang/basung and fish kembong/rumahan during the red tide season. Fish caught outside of the three nautical miles (kembong and basung), should have their gills removed and the fish washed well before cooking. The department also noted that the “bubuk” shrimp season had started in waters adjacent to Tanjung Kubung up to UMS. It is recommended that fishermen do not take and consume them because of fears of being contaminated by the Red Tide, he said.

Source: Daily Express

Three more in hospital after eating mussels

The Star, 15 Feb 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Three more people were warded at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here after consuming red tide-infected toxic mussels, bringing the number of victims to 46.

The health department expects more people who had bought the mussels at the Inanem night market here to come forward for treatment.

The red tide phenomenon claimed its third victim on Wednesday when a 23-year-old foreigner from Kampung Inanam Jaya died from suspected poisoning after consuming shellfish bought at the market.

The shellfish was said to have been sold at just RM1.50 per plastic bag.

Sabah health department director Dr Christina Rundi said: “We don’t know how many people actually consumed the clams but we advise those who ate them to seek treatment, whether or not they have symptoms.”

The initial symptoms include tingling lips and tongue, a sensation of “pins and needles” on the skin, followed by loss of control of arms and legs, and breathing difficulty.

The red tide warning was first issued by the Fisheries Department on Dec 12 last year.

The phenomenon is triggered by a deadly algae bloom, which produces toxic or harmful effects to marine life and turns the water red.

Source

One dead, 17 hospitalised after eating ‘red tide’ mussels

The Star, 13 Feb 2013

Mussle

KOTA KINABALU: A man died and 17 others were hospitalised after consuming mussels and bivalves infected with red tide toxins, in the most serious case of paralystic shellfish poisoning (PSP) this season.

Sabah Fisheries Department director Rayner Stuel Galid said his department received a report from the State Health Department about the latest incident.

The victims had all purchased cockles and bivalves from street peddlers at the Inanam market, Galid said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said the red tide warning was still in place and urged the public to avoid consuming all types of marine shellfish or bivalves.

These include sea oysters, mussels, cockles, bivalves and any type of clam-like seafood.

Beginning late November, the department detected a high amount of PSP toxins in samples of bivalves obtained from the west coast through its red tide monitoring programme.

In January, two teenagers died from consuming poisonous shellfish.

Among the initial symptoms include tingling lips and tongue, a sensation of the ‘pins and needles’ on the skin, followed by loss of control of arms and legs, and difficulty breathing that could result in death.

Source

Many still eating clams from red tide-hit areas

The Star, 23 Jan 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Despite numerous warnings against the dreaded red tide off Sabah’s west coast, there are still people selling and consuming clams and other sea products from the area.

Two people have reportedly died due to poisoning caused by toxic clams while there have also been cases of mild poisoning in several areas.

Many sellers are claiming their clams come from the state’s safer east coast and, as such, are not infected by the harmful algal blooms.

These blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae — ocean plants that live in the sea — grow out of control producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds.

The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal.

Some people here are said to have kept their clams in clean water for at least two days, believing the deadly algae would die, before consuming them.

Fisheries department quality assurance division head Bonyface Jintony said they were conducting operations to stop people from selling these clams, shellfish and other sea products.

“The department is working closely with the Health Ministry to monitor this problem.

“Action will be taken against those found selling shellfish or clams that put the public health at risk.

“People should be aware of the red tide as the department has already issued an alert,” said Bonyface, adding that the toxin in the clams would remain even if they were soaked in fresh water for several days.

He added that recent tests showed the cell algae per litre density was at 100,000 units.

“Anything above 7,000 cell algae per litre is considered critical,” said Bonyface.

Source

Sabah issues red tide alert

The Star, 7 Jan 2013

KOTA KINABALU: The deadly algae bloom, commonly known as the red tide phenomenon, will peak in the next two months statewide.

Sabah Fisheries Department director Rayner Stuel Galid said that red tide was recorded in November last year and will begin peaking between this month and February before tailing off by June.

“We are conducting daily tests and have found high toxicity in the west coast,” he said, adding that anything above 400 mouse units (MU) was considered dangerous.

Galid advised people to avoid eating oysters, mussels, cockles and any type of clam though other marine products like fish, prawns and crabs were safe for consumption.

He said the red tide has been seen in waters off Papar, Kota Kinabalu and Tuaran in the west coast while they have not received any reports in the east coast.

Two boys, aged 14 and nine, died from paralytic shellfish poisoning after consuming cockles on Jan 1.

The older boy died a day after eating the shellfish while the second boy died on Friday, according to Sabah Health Department director Dr Christina Rundi in a statement.

The boys had collected the cockles from the seafront at Sepanggar about 30km from here and were said to have eaten them raw.

Galid said clams, even when cooked, are still poisonous and should be avoided during the red tide season.

Red tide is a natural phenomenon whereby algae form large colonies which produce harmful effects to marine life. The density of the algae colours the surface of the sea red.

Source

Shellfish alert as red tide hits Sabah waters

The Star, 3 Jan 2013

KOTA KINABALU: People are warned against eating shellfish or bivalves obtained from the sea following a red tide alert in Sabah waters.

Sabah Fisheries Department director Rayner Stuel said these included oysters, mussels, cockles and any type of clam-like seafood.

“A year-long Red Tide Monitoring programme conducted by the department with the state Health Department has detected the presence of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins in samples of bivalves from waters off certain parts of Sabah’s west coast,” he said.

High densities of the PSP-causative organism was found in samples of sea water from Kuala Penyu, Kota Kinabalu, including Gaya Island, Sepanggar Bay and Likas Bay as well as in the Papar, Putatan, and Tuaran districts.

Rayner said the numbers became so large and dense that they released a brownish red colour to the sea at times.

The types of sea life considered safe to eat include all types of prawns and crabs, coral fish and predatory fish.

Source

Rosnah: Refrain from consuming shellfish

7 Jan 2013

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Shirin advised people in Sabah to refrain from consuming shellfish and bivalve shellfish in the wake of the red tide. They are urged to seek immediate treatment at the nearest hospital should they experience symptoms such as numbness, dizziness, vomiting and breathing difficulties, particularly after consuming cockles. Tests on shellfish collected from areas affected with red tide revealed high concentrations of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins, which may be fatal in extreme cases. State Health Director Dr. Christina Rundi confirmed on Saturday that two out of six people who were down with poisoning due to red tide after consuming shellfish have died. Christina said that all six patients were found to have consumed cockles collected from Sepanggar waters. According to hospital sources two patients, aged 14 and 9 suffered critical symptoms of severe anaphylactic shock and were diagnosed with PSP. Both passed away on January 2nd and January 4th respectively. Sabah Fisheries Director Rayner Stuel Galid explained that samples of seawater taken off Sepanggar showed a toxin reading of 6,000 Mouse Units (MUs). “The level is evidently very high because a reading of 400 MU is already toxic and dangerous,” he said. The red tide phenomenon has also been detected in waters off Papar, Putatan, Kota Kinabalu and Tuaran as well as Sitompok Lake in Kuala Penyu. Rayner echoed Rosnah’s call in urging the public to abstain from eating cockles, shellfish and small fishes. “Deep sea fishes, squids and crabs can be consumed but they must be cleaned thoroughly and the gills must be discarded,” he said.

Source: Insight Sabah