Catarman, Northern Samar: The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Tacloban City warned the public against eating all types of shellfish as those harvested from Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar and Maqueda Bay in Western Samar were found positive of paralytic shellfish poison or red tide toxin.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Shellfish Bulletin No. 27 issued on August 15 but received only on Thursday said that based on the latest laboratory results, “All types of shellfish and acetes sp. or alamang gathered from these areas are not safe for human consumption.”
However, fish, squids, shrimps and crabs are safe to be eaten provided they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and grills and intestines are removed before cooking.
Declared with red tide infestation are the municipal waters of Iron-irong Bay, Catbalogan, Villaruel and Maqueda Bay in Western Samar; Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; Inner Malampaya Sound, Taytay; Puerto Princesa Bay, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan; the coastal waters of Tambobo Bay, Siaton in Negros Oriental; Balite Bay, Mati in Davao Oriental; and the coastal waters of Gigantes Island, Carles in Iloilo.
Although, Northern Samar was not mentioned in the advisory, OCD Regional Director Edgar Posadas, urged the public to heed the warning.
Meanwhile, the harvesting, selling, buying and eating of shellfish species from the coastal waters of Mandaon and Placer towns in Masbate are still forbidden because of red tide infestation. Local government authorities were enjoined to strictly enforce the ban.
No casualty caused by the red tide was reported in Masbate towns but BFAR officials cautioned those engaged in the shellfish industry, particularly scallops, to be cautious in harvesting and processing them.
The local government units were also urged to be vigilant in issuing auxiliary invoice for fisheries products in red tide affected areas and to strengthen sea patrols.
Red tide is a marine phenomenon in which water is stained with a red, brown, or yellowish color caused by temporary abundance of “blooms,” also called phytoplankton, or planktonic algae.
The phenomenon may be linked to inclement weather condition that triggers the red tide causing organisms to be active, adding to the possibility of upwelling brought by strong waves and current that also affectsthe organism’s dormancy.