The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has raised a red tide alert and banned the catching and consumption of shellfish in 13 areas in Eastern Visayas.

In an advisory, the BFAR confirmed that red tide toxins have recurred in the following coastal

  • Irong-irong Bay in Catbalogan City, Samar
  • San Pedro Bay in Basey, Samar
  • Maqueda Bay covering the seawaters of Jiabong, Motiong, Paranas, San, Sebastian, Calbiga, Pinabacdao, and Hinabangan towns in Samar

The ban was placed just two months after the BFAR declared the areas free from red tide.

Red tide is a phenomenon caused by high algal blooms causing the discoloration of coastal waters (hence the name “red tide”). The algal bloom may deplete oxygen levels in the waters and/or release toxins that may cause illness in humans and other animals.

On its May 7 advisory, the BFAR imposed a shellfish ban in Carigara Bay covering the towns of Babatngon, San Miguel, Barugo, Carigara and Capoocan, Leyte; Biliran waters in Biliran province; Leyte coastal areas in Leyte town; Ormoc Bay covering Ormoc City, Merida, and Albuera in Leyte; Cambatutay Bay in Tarangnan, Samar; coastal waters of Zumarraga, Samar; seawaters of Daram, Samar; Villareal Bay in Villareal, Samar; Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City; and coastal waters of Calubian in Leyte province.

“Fish, squid, 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,” the BFAR said.  – Rommel F. Lopez