Shellfish from Gulf of Nicoya are safe to eat

February 23, 2012

The Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca), confirmed Tuesday the presence of a red tide (harmful algal blooms) on the Pacific shores of the Gulf of Nicoya, but stated that it’s completely safe to eat fish and seafood from the region.

Incopesca quoted reports from the Laboratory of Marine Phytoplankton at National University (UNA) in Heredia, which confirmed the occurring of a red tide event, composed of different species of microalgae, including Gymnodinium catenatum,a toxin-producing species that has not been found to date in any sampled shellfish.

UNA studies included several samples of clams and mollusks, as well as various types of oysters, and were supported by toxicological analysesfrom two National Health Service (SENASA) labs.

To monitor the red tide events, an interagency commission composed of representatives from Incopesca, the Health Ministry, the Social Security System, SENASA, National University and University of Costa Rica maintains a monitoring program along the Pacific coast.

In case the commission finds the existence of toxicity in shellfish, “it shall activate warning mechanisms and restrictions on the marketing and consumption of shellfish in order to safeguard public health”, Incopesca stated in a press release.

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