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The fishing communities here has been warned not to consume the cockles collected from the Kuantan Port area as the waters has been contaminated with the paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) or red tide toxin, which could cause death.

KUANTAN: The fishing communities here has been warned not to consume the cockles collected from the Kuantan Port area as the waters has been contaminated with the paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) or red tide toxin, which could cause death.

State Rural Development, Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Committee chairman Datuk Shafik Fauzan Sharif, who advised them to stop collecting and selling the toxic cockles, said several individuals has previously suffered from severe food poisoning after consuming them between November last year and August.

He said tests conducted by the state Fisheries Department on the oyster consumed by eight Indonesian labourers who suffered severe food poisoning on Aug 1 showed a high presence of PSP toxins.

"Checks conducted on the oyster and plankton samples in the area showed the toxin readings were recorded between 317 and 3,560 microgram (ug) per 100gram. The reading is far above the standard level which is about 80 ug per 100g.

"It is harmful to ones health and when a person consumes it, he or she has to seek immediate treatment or else it could lead to death. The public, especially the fishing communities are advised not to collect, eat or sell them," he told reporters after closing the State Fisheries Department Community programme here today.

Meanwhile, State Fisheries Department director Adnan Hussain said the department were in the midst of investigating what had caused the waters near Kuantan Port to be contaminated with the red-tide toxin as the case reported here was the first in Pahang.

He said the department had put up signboards to remind people not to collect or consume the cockles in the vicinity or collect the water in the area.

"Those who consume the toxic cockles will experience symptoms, such as numbness in the neck and lips, vomiting, dizziness and shortness of breath. The person should seek immediate assistance at the nearest hospital or clinic," he said, adding the department will continue to monitor the situation and provide information from time to time for the safety of the public.

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