MANILA -- Five people were arrested for harvesting mussels from a red-tide affected area in Pangasinan, in violation of Republic Act 8550 or the Fisheries Code of the Philippines.
The mussels, 55 sacks of them, were confiscated by elements of the City Agriculture Office and Philippine National Police (PNP) after these were found to have been harvested from the coastal wasters of Anda town in Pangasinan.
The suspects, authorities said, were meted a fine of P2,500 each.
According to Emma Molina, city agriculturist in Dagupan, the mussels, which were loaded in two trucks, were supposed to be delivered to the Magsaysay Fish Market.
Authorities said the seized mussels, which were worth around P15,000, will be torched.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has warned the public against the consumption of shellfish from the coastal waters of Anda and Bolinao towns since these areas tested positive for red tide toxin.
Red tide is a common name for algal bloom, a phenomenon wherein there is an increase in the amount of algae found in bodies of water. This causes discoloration in coastal waters.
This phenomenon depletes oxygen in the water and may release toxins that can cause illness and poisoning. -- Report from Joanna Tacason, ABS-CBN News Pangasinan