Labuan: Fisheries Director Zainudin b Hj. Abd. Wahab said Red Tide poisoning was detected in Labuan waters as of 11.40am Friday near Pulau Papan which is 600m from the island. He said the survey made by the Fisheries Department found the area enclosed by the Red Tide was about three to four hectares. Samples sent to the fisheries laboratory in Likas found that the Red Tide is of the Pyrodinium bahamense var. compressum kind with a very high concentration reaching 473,600 cells/liter and this is known as "Algae Bloom". The level considered dangerous to humans is 5,000 cells/liter. Very high concentrations will cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) of the muscles that can cause death. The Department expects the Red Tide to last for about two weeks. Chances are the red tide will be swept away towards Pulau Daat, Menumbok, Sipitang and Lawas, he said.
The public, especially Labuan residents, are advised not to eat sea products such as snails, shells and fish, especially small pelagic fish like selayang/basung and fish kembong/rumahan during the red tide season. Fish caught outside of the three nautical miles (kembong and basung), should have their gills removed and the fish washed well before cooking. The department also noted that the "bubuk" shrimp season had started in waters adjacent to Tanjung Kubung up to UMS. It is recommended that fishermen do not take and consume them because of fears of being contaminated by the Red Tide, he said.