TACLOBAN CITY — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has warned against consumption of shellfish gathered from Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar after the recurrence of the red tide phenomenon there.
In a local red tide warning issued Thursday (August 2), BFAR confirmed the red tide bloom in the bay through laboratory analysis for more than a week.
The presence of red tide in both meat and water calls for a ban on the gathering, trading and consumption of shellfish from identified areas, BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said in a mobile phone interview.
“To safeguard human lives while waiting for the result of confirmatory test of shellfish sample sent to BFAR central office, we are issuing this warning as a precautionary to the public to refrain from gathering, selling, and eating all types of shellfishes and hipon from Matarinao Bay to avoid possible shellfish poisoning,” Albaladejo said.
Fish caught in these areas are safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh, washed and cooked thoroughly, according to BFAR’s advisory.
Matarinao Bay, noted for frequent occurrence of red tide, spans the coasts in the towns of Salcedo, Quinapondan, McArthur and Hernani in Eastern Samar.
Earlier, the fisheries bureau also imposed shellfish ban in the coastal waters of Biliran province and Leyte.
Red tide refers to the phenomenon, wherein water is discolored by high concentration of algae.
The discoloration may not necessarily be red in color, but it may also appear yellow, brown, green, blue or milky, depending on the organism involved.
The fisheries bureau has stepped up water sampling activities in the affected areas to ensure the safety of shellfish consumers.