The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) recommended keeping fishing bans in oil spill-hit municipalities in Oriental Mindoro after finding low-level contaminants or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the fish samples.
In a press release on Wednesday, the Bureau said the fish samples were collected and analyzed on March 10. Likewise, seaweeds collected and analyzed from select sites in Caluya, Antique, on March 9 also showed PAH.
"The results were consistent with the findings of the DA-BFAR in its first and second batch of analyses, that is, minimal amounts of PAH levels were present in seafood collected from sampling sites in Oriental Mindoro," said BFAR.
"Despite low-level amounts found in the samples, the Bureau recommends keeping fishing bans in oil spill-hit municipalities in Oriental Mindoro since the initial analyses are not yet conclusive evidence as far as food safety is concerned," it added.
The DA-BFAR also recommended retaining harvesting bans on seaweeds in Caluya, Antique, until further evaluation shows they are safe for public consumption.
Meanwhile, the agency continuously analyzes and monitors the area to establish time-series results on the oil spill's impact on food safety.
MT Princess Empress sank on February 28 off Najuan, Oriental Mindoro while carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel.
BFAR on Wednesday estimated the income loss due to the oil spill to be already at P388 million. Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on Tuesday said it plans to provide alternative livelihood training to the 2,000 affected fisherfolk in Oriental Mindoro. —Sherylin Untalan/ VAL, GMA Integrated News