Authorities keeping close watch over poultry shipments to Boracay
BORACAY, Philippines – Local authorities are keeping a close watch over the entry of poulltry and egg shipments into this world-famous tourist destination to protect the island from avian flu.
This week, port authorities seized 156,000 poultry eggs and dressed chickens in Caticlan jetty port in Malay, Aklan. (READ: MAP: Barangays near bird flu outbreak in Pampanga)
On August 13, quarantine offices intercepted at the Caticlan port around 6,000 pieces of balut (fertilized duck eggs) shipped to a Caticlan egg dealer. Also seized were 10 live chickens and 4 dressed chickens.
Two days later, on August 15, a 10-wheeler truck with 150,000 chicken eggs and 20,000 quial eggs from Batangas port to the province of Aklan was intercepted also at Caticlan port at 2:30 am.
"Pinabalik itong mga itlog sa point of origin, sa Luzon, ng ating enforcement units (They returned these eggs to the point of origin, to Luzon, by our enforcement units)," said Caticlan port administrator Niven Maquirang.
Maquirang added, "The Philippine National Police, shipping companies and Philippine Coast Guard have been put on alert to check cargoes coming into Boracay Island and Caticlan and to prevent the shipment of eggs and other poultry products from Batangas, Mindoro and Romblon to Aklan."
The Department of Agriculture had earlier declared a shipment ban on poultry and poultry products from Luzon to prevent the avian influenza virus from spreading to other parts of the country. (READ: Piñol expects bird flu outbreak to affect agri performance in Q3)
There are concerns that the bird flu outbreak in Luzon might affect the supply of eggs and poultry products in Boracay Island, which would have a potential impact on restaurants, hotels, bakery, shoppers, fast food outlets, and poultry product retailers.
Agriculture officials had earlier urged poultry farms in the Visayas and Mindanao to beef up their operations to compensate for the reduced supply coming from parts of Luzon. To date, there are confirmed bird flu cases in Pampanga and in Jaen and San Isidro towns in Nueva Ecija.
Authorities are also keeping a close watch on a possible supply shortage in Boracay. At present, the demand for chicken eggs is huge in the island, which is estimated at one million monthly.
Avian influenza (AI) is a virus that infects all types of avian species, including wild birds and domestic poultry. AI is an animal health issue that causes mild to severe symptoms in birds and, in its most extreme form, can be fatal to infected birds. – Rappler.com