By Sarwell Meniano

RED TIDE. A portion of Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has confirmed the presence of toxic red tide in water samples collected from this bay in its advisory issued on Wednesday (June 19, 2024). (File photo)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has confirmed the presence of toxic red tide in water samples collected in two bays in Samar provinces.

Citing the latest laboratory results, BFAR said on Wednesday that seawater samples collected in Irong-Irong Bay in Catbalogan City, Samar, and Matarinao Bay in General MacArthur, Quinapondan, Hernani, and Salcedo towns in Eastern Samar turned positive for toxic microorganisms that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.

The fisheries bureau said in a statement that aside from tide changes, several factors also caused the recurrence of red tide in two areas.

“Among these are currents, wind directions, and the availability of nutrients and sunlight, for instance, which are potential contributors to this situation,” it said.

The bureau urged the public to refrain from gathering, selling, and eating all types of shellfish and Acetes sp., locally known as “alamang” or “hipon,” from these bays. 

Fish, squid, shrimp, and crabs are safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and their internal organs, such as gills and intestines, are removed before cooking.

The BFAR regularly analyzes water samples through its regional laboratory to ensure that shellfish gathered from different bays are safe for human consumption. (PNA)