The Department of Agriculture (DA) clarified that tilapia and shrimps are safe to eat despite the recent fish mortality cases in the country.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) explained the recent cases of fish mortality in Taal Lake and Laguna de Bay were due to low oxygen levels, which is due to weather changes.
BFAR earlier warned the public against viruses found in tilapia and shrimps after dead fishes were found floating on Laguna Lake.
The agency also warned consumers against the tilapia lake virus, which may cause widespread deaths among the fish.
“It’s a virus targeting the internal organs, the liver, and the brain no’ng mga alaga po nating tilapia,” BFAR Region IV-A Director Sammy Malvas said.
Shrimps are also at risk of the white spot syndrome virus and acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease, Malvas added.
“‘Pag sa gabi, makikita mo na parang maraming ilaw doon sa tubig at isa [ito] sa mga senyales na mayroon white spot syndrome. Ang tinatamaan lang nito ang internal organs nila and so it will cause mass mortality pag ito po ay dumapo sa ating mga shrimp farms,” he explained.
(During the night, you could observe there seemed to be many lights in the water, those are signs of white spot syndrome. It attacks the shrimp’s internal organs and could cause mortality if it spreads in shrimp farms.)
DA clarifies tilapia, shrimps safe to eat
Malvas added that the acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease may cause a “mild stomach upset” in humans.
BFAR then required a health certificate for the transportation of tilapia and shrimp fingerlings.
However, BFAR emphasized that there is no outbreak of diseases in tilapia and shrimps. It explained health certificates had been required in the transport or movement of tilapia fry and fingerlings as well as shrimps in the post-larvae stage since 2015.
“We would like to emphasize that these diseases do not pose any risk to human health,” BFAR said.
“Should the fish commodities be affected by the said diseases, they are still safe for human consumption, provided they are fresh and thoroughly washed and cleaned before cooking,” it added.