Fishermen rescue an endangered female Green Sea Turtle trapped in a Fish Corral off Cancabato Bay back in March 2019 (photo from Tacloban City website)

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) revealed that red tide in Cancabato Bay is back after it declared the bay free from the paralytic shellfish poisoning last October 31.

“If you check the weather pattern these past few weeks, we started with very warm weather and we experienced a tropical depression,” BFAR 8 Regional Director Juan Albaladejo shared.

The latest red tide incidence in the bay was recorded in the third week of August and it remained until October 31. Red tide is also reported to be present in San Pedro Bay, Irong-irong Bay, and Silanga Bay all in Samar province.

The BFAR laboratory test revealed toxin levels in seawater is as high as 10,000 cells per liter and 80 micrograms per 100 grams of meat.  The agency noted that the result is way higher than the regulatory limit of 10 cells per liter of seawater and 60 micrograms per 100 grams of meat.

This is the fourth red tide incidence which lasted for three days ever since Super Typhoon Yolanda struck Cancabato. The second recurrence lasted for three weeks while the third one affected the bay for two months, as shared by BFAR.

Albaladejo expressed his confidence that the resurgence of the red tide phenomenon won’t last long since Cancabato has a good flushing action brought by the strong current in the San Juanico Strait.

BFAR encourages the locals to stop gathering, trading, and consumption of shellfish from the areas identified positive of shellfish poisoning until such time that the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory level.

Fish in the areas, however, are considered safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh, washed and cooked thoroughly.

Cancabato Bay is known for having a rich source of clams being exported to Taiwan and Hongkong. (RJ Espartinez)