TACLOBAN CITY – At least 10 bays in Eastern Visayas have been cleared from the red tide toxins after months of infestation, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said in its advisory issued on Friday.
These red tide-cleared areas are the coastal waters of Guiuan, Eastern Samar; Cambatutay Bay in Tarangnan, Samar; Zumarraga, Samar; coastal waters of Daram, Samar; Leyte coastal areas, Leyte; Matarinao Bay stretching across the towns of General MacArthur, Hernani, Quinapondan, and Salcedo in Eastern Samar; Biliran in Biliran province; Carigara Bay in Leyte; San Pedro Bay in Basey, Samar; and Ormoc Bay in the towns of Ormoc, Merida, and Albuera in Leyte.
Only the Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City and coastal waters of Calubian in Leyte remained in the red tide-hit list in Eastern Visayas, said BFAR Regional Director Norberto Berida.
“This is really good news for Eastern Visayas since our fish farmers can now resume the gathering and trading of shellfish in their areas since these products are now safe for human consumption,” Berida told the Philippines News Agency (PNA).
Weather disturbances early this year that brought heavy rains, strong water current, and cold weather have dispersed red tide organisms.
Although the shellfish ban has been lifted in these 12 bays, the fisheries bureau regularly monitors these areas to check possible recurrence.
Berida said they expect that dry season and sudden heavy downpour may trigger another red tide phenomenon.
Meanwhile, all types of shellfish and Acetes sp. locally known as “alamang” gathered in Cancabato and Calubian are not safe for human consumption.
“Fish, squid, shrimp, and crab are safe to eat provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking,” the advisory added.
Local government units are advised to regulate the gathering, marketing, and transport of shellfish from the affected areas.
Red tide is a term used to describe a phenomenon where the water is discolored by high algal biomass or the concentration of algae.
(SARWELL Q. MENIANO/PNA)