TACLOBAN CITY: A red tide alert was raised over Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar after the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) found toxins from shellfish meat samples gathered from the bay.
In its advisory issued late Friday afternoon, the fisheries bureau disclosed that there are 65 saxitoxins per 100 grams of meat from shellfish gathered in Matarinao Bay.
“This is above the regulatory limit because the normal should be below 49 saxitoxins per 100 grams of shellfish meat,” said BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo.
Saxitoxin is a principal toxin responsible for a human illness known as paralytic shellfish poisoning. Some shellfish can store this toxin for several weeks, which is harmful if consumed by humans.
BFAR advised the public not to consume all types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang gathered from Matarinao Bay.
Harvesting, marketing and eating shellfish and Acetes sp. are prohibited until the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory level.
Fishes from the bay are safe for human consumption as long as they are cleaned and washed thoroughly, and their internal organs are removed before cooking.
Matarinao Bay covers the coastal waters of Salcedo, Quinapondan, Hernani, and Gen. MacArthur in Eastern Samar.
The ban is also hoisted over Irong Irong Bay, Cambatutay Bay, Villareal Bay, and Maqueda Bay in Samar province; and Carigara Bay in Leyte.
The bay has been subject to regular monitoring after the recurrence of red tide bloom. In 2013 the red tide bloom lasted for almost a year.
BFAR believes that the prolong dry season followed by a heavy downpour this week triggered the red tide bloom because of waste water discharged from the mountains and residential areas.