The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Eastern Visayas warned fishermen in four bodies of water in Leyte and Eastern Samar provinces to refrain from gathering, selling and eating all types of shellfish that were found contaminated with red tide toxins.
In an advisory, BFAR said the coastal waters of Guiuan town at the southernmost tip of Samar island are now contaminated with red tide, an algae that causes paralytic shelllfish poisoning.
The fisheries bureau has also declared high presence of red tide in the waters of Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City last 1 June, Matarinao Bay in the towns of General MacArthur, Hernani, Quinapondan and Salcedo in Eastern Samar last 25 June and in Carigara Bay covering the towns of Babatngon, San Miguel, Barugo, Carigara and Capoocan in Leyte last 14 July.
BFAR regional director Juan Albaladejo said tests done in both seawater and shellfish meat show toxins presence are beyond the regulatory limit.
The agency issues red tide warning when tests show toxins are beyond the regulatory limit of 60 micrograms for every 100 grams of shellfish meat to warn that prohibition on shellfish harvesting is in effect.
BFAR also bans the trading and consumption of Acetes sp. locally known as “alamang” harvested affected bodies of water to avoid possible poisoning.
Local government units are advised to regulate gathering, marketing, and transporting of shellfish in affected areas.
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,” BFAR advisory said.