TACLOBAN CITY — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Eastern Visayas is advising concerned local government units (LGUs) to ban the gathering, selling and eating of shellfishes at the Irong-Irong Bay in Catbalogan City Samar pending the issuance of an official bulletin from its central office.
The alert came as a precautionary measure following the result of Friday’s reading that the red tide microorganism in the area has exceeded the safe level of 10 cells per liter of water. Their monitoring gathered 867 to 2,074 cells per liter of water.
BFAR regional director Juan Albaladejo further stated that “signs that a red tide bloom is imminent” at Cambatutay Bay that borders Tarangnan and Catbalogan. The reading showed 24 cells per liter.
“Shellfish meat is now being processed in Manila for presence of saxitoxin in the meat,” he said.
Meanwhile, the BFAR executive has already alerted the agency’s technical staff and their LGU counterparts to intensify the monitoring to already include Calbayog waters and Maqueda Bay.
“If it is only Irong-Irong Bay the spread can be contained but Cambatutay is showing an expected blooming. It increases the chance of spread to Calbayog waters as current from the Cambatutay Bay drains to Samar Sea at the vicinity of Calbayog waters,” he explained.
Cambatutay Bay had its first occurrence of red tide in March last year taking two months for it to be eventually declared free, he added.
Similar ban is also recommended for shellfish taken from the Maqueda Bay, which is very close to Cambatutay Bay, he emphasized.