TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas has retained its red tide-free status in the past four weeks based on the latest bulletin issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Laboratory testing shows that the region’s 16 bays and coastal waters with a history of red tide infestation are cleared from toxic organisms as per Shellfish Bulletin No. 21 series of 2023 relayed by BFAR Eastern Visayas on Tuesday.

The BFAR said the sampling conducted in four consecutive weeks yielded negative results for paralytic shellfish poisoning.

The last area with red tide occurrence was in Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar, recorded from the last week of May to mid-August this year.

“Our fishermen can now resume the gathering and trading of shellfish in this area since these products are now safe for human consumption based on the latest results of our laboratory analysis,” the BFAR regional office said in a statement.

Although the shellfish ban has been lifted in all areas in the region, the monitoring will continue to check the possible recurrence.

The regular water sample checks cover the coastal waters of Daram, and Zumarraga, Cambatutay, Irong-irong, Maqueda, and Villareal Bays in Samar; coastal waters of Guiuan; San Pedro Bay in Samar; coastal waters of Leyte, Calubian, Ormoc, Sogod, Carigara Bay, and Cancabato Bay, Tacloban City in Leyte; and coastal waters of Biliran Island.

These areas had a history of red tide recurrence in the past years.

BFAR regularly analyzes water samples through its regional laboratory to ensure that shellfish gathered from these areas are safe for human consumption.

If seawater turns positive for red tide, they gather and send meat to their national laboratory for thorough analysis.

Red tide is a term used to describe a phenomenon where the water gets discolored by high algal biomass or the concentration of algae. (PNA)