RED TIDE ALERT UP IN TACLOBAN, EASTERN SAMAR BAYS
A portion of red tide-infested Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City. (Photo courtesy of Camera ni Juan Photography)
TACLOBAN CITY — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) imposed a shellfish ban on two Eastern Visayas bays due to the recurrence of red tide phenomenon.
On Thursday, BFAR found the red tide algal bloom in Cancabato Bay in this city after a week-long laboratory analysis. Red tide phenomenon has been up in Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar since October 2018, according to a local advisory of the fisheries bureau.
“Pollution and high salinity triggered red tide recurrence in Cancabato Bay, but we expect the organisms will be flushed out soon due to strong current in the area,” BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said in a mobile phone interview.
This is the third red tide recurrence after Super Typhoon Yolanda struck in Cancabato. The first only lasted three days and the second lasted three weeks, Albaladejo said.
“Usually, it is taking so long for Matarinao Bay because the area is enclosed. The longest recorded was in 2010 where it extended for a year. We need strong continuous rains and sustained wave action to flush out the red tide organism,” he added.
The presence of red tide in both meat and water calls for prohibition of gathering, trading and consumption of shellfish from identified areas over the possibility of shellfish poisoning. The bay, however, has a good flushing action due to the strong current in the San Juanico Strait.
BFAR conducts weekly monitoring of sea water in bays hit by red tide in the past, but for positive areas, authorities examine water and meat samples three times weekly.
The fisheries bureau advised the public to refrain from eating, harvesting, selling, and buying shellfish products and Acetes sp. (small shrimps) from the affected bays until such time that the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory level. Fish caught in these areas are safe for human consumption provided that these are fresh, washed and cooked thoroughly.