Scientists say Sepanggar Bay fish edible despite red tide

  • Business
  • Sunday, 21 Jan 2007

KOTA KINABALU: A team of marine scientists at University Malaysia Sabah has identified the species of Red Tide in the Sepanggar Bay area and fishes affected by it were not harmful for human consumption. 

A team of researchers studying the harmful algal bloom led by Prof Datin Dr Ann Anton found the Red Tide that began last week was caused by the presence of Cochclodinium polikrikoides, one of the red tide causing species. 

“This species does not produce harmful toxins, but kills fishes through asphyxiation or the lack of oxygen due to the gills being clogged by the cells,” the UMS’s Borneo Marine Research Institute said in a statement. 

The consumption of the fish that dies as a result of oxygen deprivation caused by the Cochclodinium polikrikoides does not cause any health hazards for humans, the statement added. 

However, the statement quoted Dr Normawathy Mohammad Noor as saying that they have also discovered another species of Red Tide - Gymnodinium catenatum which forms chains in which as which as many as 30 cells per chain were observed. 

Gymnodinium catenatum is known to produce toxins that that kills fish in the Sepanggar Bay here. 

The toxin commonly known as paralytic shellfish poison or PSP is accumulated by mussels and oysters and if consumed by humans could cause neurological and gatro-intestinal problems and in more severe conditions result in deaths. 

The PSP toxins are also produced by another Red Tide species Pyrodinium bahamense var compressum which commonly found in the west coast of Sabah. 

The institute is carrying out studies to determine the factors of for the harful algae bloom commonly known as Red Tide because causes water to be reddish.  

They hope to eventually determine ways and means of preventing the blooming of the harmful algae species, the statement said.

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