Samar’s Irong-Irong Bay hit by red tide
TACLOBAN CITY – Irong-Irong Bay in Samar is again hit by the red tide algal bloom, prompting the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to impose a shellfish ban in the area.
In a red tide alert issued Tuesday, BFAR reported red tide toxins in the bays coastal waters just a few months after its last recorded bloom last February.
BFAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said water samples collected along the bay in Catbalogan City and Tarangnan, Samar are positive of Pyrodinium bahamense variety compressum, a microorganism that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).
“To safeguard human lives while waiting for the result of the confirmatory test of shellfish samples sent to our main office, we are issuing this warning as precautionary advice to the public to refrain from gathering, selling, and eating all types of shellfish,” Albaladejo said in a mobile phone interview Tuesday.
The fisheries bureau also banned the trading and consumption of Acetes sp. locally known as “alamang” harvested from the bay to avoid possible PSP.
PSP occurs mostly from ingesting bivalve shellfish (such as mussels, oysters, and clams) that contain toxins that can cause severe and life-threatening neurological effects.
According to the fisheries bureau, the first harmful algal bloom associated with red tide microorganisms was first recorded in Samar on June 21, 1983, that killed 21 people and hospitalized nearly 300 people.
Since then, red tide recurrence has been episodic, resulting in sudden economic losses, and sometimes leading to unexpected loss of lives.
Aside from Irong-Irong Bay, red tide alert has been up in Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City; Matarinao Bay stretching across the towns of General MacArthur, Hernani, Quinapondan, and Salcedo in Eastern Samar; Carigara Bay in Babatngon, San Miguel, Barugo, Carigara, and Capoocan in Leyte; and coastal waters of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
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 said.
Red tide is a term used to describe a phenomenon where the water is discolored by high algal biomass or the concentration of algae. (PNA)