Wednesday, July 8, 2015

UP MSI finds elevated
poison on Cainget kuja

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol July 7 (PIA)-- Red tide, or harmful algal blooms, continue to make eating shellfish and crustaceans a no-no, as a leading marine science institute spots even more heightened levels of poison in shellfish gathered in several areas near Tagbilaran City, including the famous Cainget kuja. 

In its marine-life sampling, specifically shellfish collected in seven sites in the Tagbilaran Bay and nearby Panglao, field researcher Peter Paolo Rivera of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) in Diliman noted elevated levels of pyridinium bahamense of the compressum variety present which has been largely pinpointed as the cause if the harmful algal bloom. 

Pyridinium bahamense, is a kind of dinoflagellates marine planktons that when ingested by bottom feeders, can cause the toxin to be in the organism, shellfish for example and causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. 

The plankton may manifest as algal bloom, sometimes in red, thus red tide. 

With cases of PSP in Bohol, UP MSIa nd Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Bohol collaborated to send laboratory samples for analysis, to determine which areas are affected and to properly guide communities, BFAR Leo Bongalos said. 

The sampling, which happened between June 30-July 1, showed elevated signs of the paralytic shellfish poisoning causative organisms in Cainget Beach especially in "kuja" oysters where shellfish toxin is 324 and 390 mice units per 100 gram meat, which is beyond the regulatory toxin limit of 60 mice units per 100 grams meat. 

The same sampling survey, signed by research assistant Jenelyn Mendoza and laboratory technician Sammy Santos also showed pyrodinium cells present in K of C Tagbilaran, at the Tagbilaran Dauis Cahnnel lagoon, Songcolan Totolan where blood clam (litub) showed shellfish toxin or 641 mice units per 100 grams meat. Sea sea urchin toxin (dapaw) however showed 39.6 mice units which is below the 60 mice units per 100 grams meat. 

Oyrodinium cells were also noted in blood clams gathered at Soncolan Riverside dauis, where 38,200 mice units were found within the 100 grams meat, this according to UP MSI experts is 600 times beyond the 60 mice unit per 100 gram meat.

Other stations in Bohol tested were Sitio Daurong-Tapurok in Danao panglao a,d Looc, but no pyridinium cells were detected there, according to the scientists. 

Over this, BFAR Bohol Bongalos reiterates advice to refrain from eating, gathering and marketing shellfish from these areas, until the poison shall have been cleared and the seas declared free from red tide. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Make "inconvenient travel" 
from Cebu-Bohol, seamless 

TAGBILARAN CITY, July 7 (PIA) --Exasperated, a Panglao resort owner has rallied tourism stakeholders in Bohol to help him pressure authorities into working out a solution for the inconvenience international tourists experience when coming to Bohol. 

British investor and Alona Citadel owner David Baillie told stakeholders of the inconvenient truth that Cebu is an inconvenient gateway to Bohol, and frustrating tourists who wish to come. 

Seamless travel, a sellout for international tourism is not what international tourists can get when they land in Cebu and intends to come to Bohol, Baillie hinted.

Fearing that Bohol might be oversupplying rooms but with Bohol nearing its 5,000 room in the coming months, Baillie told people gathered at a meeting called by the Provincial Tourism Council and the Bohol Tourism Office about why Bohol must iron out the kinky travel mess as a tourist lands in Cebu and opts to go to Bohol. 

He bemoaned on why ferry service could not arrange for connecting trips for foreigners in as much as credit card paid transactions only work for air fares and unluckily not for ferries especially those connecting to Bohol. 

"Other than the exploitive taxes exacted on foreign tourists, they would find out that there is practically no shuttle service from the airport to the pier. Here," he said "tourists, lugging in baggage, family members and equipment would be forced to contract a taxi or van to get to the pier."

"Upon alighting, offloading baggage and regrouping, he would be told that he would first need to take the queue to get ferry tickets, which could only be had by cash transactions, along with the daily mill of passengers for Bohol," he elucidated as he worked out a common scenario. 

"I find it rather shocking," Baillie blurted out but his words coming out in an educated cadence prim for Brits. 

"Why the heck do we have ticketing offices outside the pier?" he asked. 

Baillie, who has been doing calculations to illustrate his point said at 7 flights of 120 people per day, Bohol would only have about 800 tourists coming in from Manila, further pressing the need to fix the Cebu gateway. 

Now, what we have is a real crisis of overproducing hotel rooms and without people coming in, he intoned his fears, if authorities could not fix the problem. 

Baillie admitted he has talked with governor Edgar Chatto, Department of Tourism Regional Director Rowena Montecillo and other key ferry operators but nothing seemed to come out of it.

He then hoped the PTC, BTO and tourism stakeholders in Bohol can rally to pressure the authorities to work out plans to fix the problem, especially when Tagbilaran and Panglao airports could not be used as much as Bohol wants. 

Meanwhile, PTC president Atty Lucas Nunag admitted the hassle tourists have to undergo to get to Bohol, and has brought the issue to the Regional Development Council. Except for a hint on putting up a shuttle service from the airport to Cebu downtown area, no word has come out in making travel seamless. 

Bohol Association of Hotels Resorts and Restaurants president Rommel Gonzalez also said they'd rather pressure the DOT, because it certainly does not make travel "more fun in the Philippines". (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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