THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has warned the public against catching and consuming shellfish from coastal waters in the provinces of Davao Oriental, Bohol, Western Samar, Leyte, Capiz, Aklan, Iloilo and Biliran Island which remain affected by the red tide toxin.
The alert warning now covers a wider portion of Eastern and Western Visayas as the red ride toxin continues to thrive in the region.
BFAR Shellfish Bulletin No.2-2016 identified the coastal waters of Balite Bay in Mati, Davao Oriental; Dauis in Bohol; Daram in Daram Island, Irong-irong Bay and Cambatutay Bay in Western Samar; Leyte Bay and Carigara Bay in Leyte; Pilar and Sapian Bay in Capiz; Atlavas, Batan and New Washington in Batan Bay, Aklan; Gigantes Islands in Carles, Iloilo; and Naval in Biliran Island as containing species of algae that produce toxins.
The agency said all types of shellfish and acetes (alamang) gathered and collected from the said areas are not safe for human consumption.
BFAR, however, said that several species – including of fish, 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.
Other major fishing grounds in the country remain unaffected by the toxin.
Last December, BFAR also warned that a prolonged dry season this year has put the Eastern Visayas Region in danger of suffering the worst algal bloom not seen in more than three decades.
The same alert was raised last October over the province of Leyte and the Biliran Strait.
Red tide has affected the livelihood of thousands of fishermen in the region and the strict enforcement of the shellfish ban was necessary to safeguard public health.
The discoloration of seawater is triggered by a massive population growth of a few species of algae that produce the toxins.