Sabah Fisheries Dept cautions public not to consume shellfish due to red tide

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KOTA KINABALU:  The Sabah Fisheries Department (SFD) has advised the public not to consume shellfish from Kota Kinabalu and Tuaran waters after a red tide was detected near Sepanggar Island on Friday that could last up to a week. 
SFD director Azhar Kassim said their Biosecurity Department found pyrodinium bahamense and margafidinium polykrikoides cells in one litre of samples to exceed dangerous levels. 
“The cells spread fast and have reached Sutera Harbour and the Jesselton Jetty waters, Likas Bay and Gaya islands with the highest reading being near the Sabah International Convention Centre,” he said when contacted today.
A red tide is composed of harmful blooms or algae that could cause mass mortalities of marine life and lead to human intoxication or even death. 
Azhar said more than 2,000 margalefidinium polykrikoides cells in a litre poses danger to fish by latching on their gills and suffocating them. 
It’s the pyrodinium bahamense that is dangerous when it exceeds 800 cells per litre.
“They can live inside shellfish and cause severe food poisoning. Symptoms include headache, nausea and excruciating stomach pain,” he said, adding that those who have ingested shellfish and are experiencing these symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical attention.

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