Philippines: Red tide engulfs Samar, Leyte bays

The Standard 24 Jul 16;

TACLOBAN CITY—The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has expressed alarm over the red tide phenomenon in Eastern Visayas that has already killed two children.

BFAR’s regional office said that red tide toxins found on May 27 in Irong Irong Bay in Tarangnan, Samar and Cambatutay Bay in Catbalogan City have spread to nearby Maqueda Bay, Villareal Bay and Carigara Bay.

Maqueda Bay is a major source of mussels for residents of Jiabong, Catbalogan City, Motiong, Paranas, Pinabacdao, Hinabangan, San Sebastian, and Calbiga in Samar. The area has been shipping shellfish to Manila for export.

Another rich source of shellfish is Carigara Bay in Carigara, Barugo, San Miguel, Leyte, and Capoocan towns in Leyte province.

BFAR regional director Juan Albaladejo said that a family of seven from Cagutsan village, Sierra Island in Catbalogan City were brought to the Samar Provincial Hospital and later to the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center after consuming penshell locally known as “sarad.”

An 11-year-old girl from the family died due to paralytic shellfish poisoning on July 17.

On July 20, another family from San Andres village also in Catbalogan consumed mussels for dinner bought from a village market. Two of their children were hospitalized after suffering severe stomach pain.

A five-year-old boy succumbed to dehydration at the Samar Provincial Hospital the same day.

The fisheries bureau asked local government units to assist in the information drive and enforcement of shellfish ban, which strictly prohibits consumption, trading, and transport of shellfish gathered from infested bays.

“It’s unfortunate that these incidents happen despite effort to warn the public starting from the onset of red tide recurrence,” Albaladejo said.

“We reiterate our public advisory to refrain from eating, harvesting, marketing, and buying shellfishes and Acetes specially from affected bays until such time that the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory level,” he said.

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,” according to BFAR.

In the last quarter of 2015, Eastern Visayas region was hit by what the BFAR described as the biggest red tide bloom that has not been seen in the region for more than three decades.

Red tide spreads in Samar, Leyte
Restituto A. Cayubit Manila Bulletin 27 Jul 16;

Tacloban City, Leyte – Several bays in Samar and Leyte are infested with red tide, prompting the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Office 8 based here to warn the public against consuming shellfish harvested by the contaminated waters.

BFAR-8 Regional Director Juan Albaladejo told reporters two children in Catbalogan City were killed reportedly after eating shellfish gathered from the waters near the city.

Albaladejo told reporters the red tide or harmful algal bloom was first observed on the last week of May in Iromg-irong Bay of Tarangnan, Samar. It has since spread to neighboring Maqaueda Bay which covers the city of Catbalogan and the Samar towns of San Sebastian, Hinabangan, Calbiga, Paranas, Motiong, Jiabong,Pinabacdao, and Villareal Bay.

He said the red tide has also reached Carigara Bay in Leyte and Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar.

Samples of shellfish gathered from Matarinao Bay last July 22 showed a reading of 65 toxins per 100 grams of shellfish meat, way above the safe limit of below 49 toxins per 100 grams of shellfish meat.

The toxins produced by the algal bloom can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Albaladejo warned the public not to gather and eat shellfish, crab, shrimp and squid from the infected bays.

He said fish from the same areas are safe for human consumption as long as the gills and innards are removed and the fish is washed properly.

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