Red tide infests 2 Eastern Visayas bays

Published January 10, 2019, 4:45 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Marie Tonette Marticio 

TACLOBAN CITY – The waters of two bays in Eastern Visayas were found to have been infested with the red tide toxin.

MB File- A laboratory analyst examines extracts of shellfish gathered from coastal areas in Bataan yesterday at the Marine Biotoxin Laboratory of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Quezon City. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has warned the public against consuming shellfish caught from at least seven coastal towns of Bataan, which have been afflicted by red tide. Apart from Manila Bay in Bataan, other bodies of water have also been found to have breached the regulatory limit for paralytic shellfish poison. These are the towns of Dumanquillas Bay in Zamboanga del Sur, Sorsogon Bay in Sorsogo, Bislig Bay in Surigao del Sur, Carigara Bay in Leyte, Murcielagos Bay Zamboanga del Norte and Misamis Occidental, and Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar. Photo by: Mark Balmores

Cancabato Bay in this city and Matarinao Bay are positive of the toxin, according to Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Leyte Provincial Director Julius Alpino.
The Regional Marine Biotoxin Laboratory said water samples from Cancabato Bay contained Pyrodinium bahamense variety compressum, a microorganism that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Provincial Fisheries Officer Julius Alpino said eating, harvesting, marketing, and buying shellfish and Acetes sp., locally known as alamang or hipon, from Cancabato are prohibited until the shellfish toxicity level goes down below the regulatory level.

BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo noted that the regulatory limit for the water should not be more than 10 cells per liter, and should not be higher than 49 micrograms per hundred grams of shellfish meat.

Fish, squid, crab, and shrimp can be eaten but all entrails must be removed and washed thoroughly before cooking, Albaladejo said.

Matarinao Bay, on the other hand, has been red tide-infested since August last year, he said.

Despite the successive red tide infestations in the bay in the past months, no casualties from shellfish poisoning have been reported, he said.

“The good thing is that we have a high level of awareness about red tide kasi we are the first one to have red tide since 1983 so kapag positive ang area, the local government units close the border para hindi makalabas ‘yung shellfish meat,” Albaladejo said.

He added that the livelihood of fisherfolk has not really suffered since most of them only gather shellfish for personal consumption.