Manila Bulletin

Red tide scourge won’t go away


TACLOBAN CITY — Red tide toxins continue to contaminat­e seven bays in Eastern Visayas, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported.

For several months, the toxins are still present in Irong Irong and Cambatutay Bays in Samar, Carigara Bay in Leyte, the coastal waters of Leyte, Leyte, Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar, and the coastal waters of Naval, Biliran.

Last week, the red tide spread to Calubian, Leyte.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Director Juan Albaladejo warned the public of eating all types of shellfish harvested from the affected bays.

The toxins found in the seven bays are beyond the regulatory limit of 10 cells per liter in seawater and 49 saxitoxin per gram in shellfish meat.

In affected areas, the density is as high as 600 cells per liter in water and 129 saxitoxin per gram in meat.

“All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang gathered from these areas are not safe for human consumptio­n,” Albaladejo said.

“Thus, the public is advised to refrain from eating, harvesting, marketing, and buying shellfishe­s and Acetes sp. from Irong-irong Bay and Cambatutay Bay until such time that the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory level," he added.

Fish, squid, shrimp and crab are safe to eat as long as they are fresh and washed thoroughly and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking, according to BFAR.

With the recent spate of red tide bloom, the fisheries bureau asked local government units to enforce the shellfish ban to ensure public safety.

“We have been issuing local bulletins to inform local officials, but I have to admit that some are not really seriously enforcing the ban,” Albaladejo said.

The fisheries bureau earlier lifted the shellfish ban in Maqueda and Villareal Bays in Samar, and Cancabato Bay in Leyte.

During the peak of red tide bloom this year, local authoritie­s buried at least four tons of shellfish gathered in Samar province. (PNA)

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