by Restituto A. Cayubit
Tacloban City, Leyte – Two of eight bays in Eastern Visayas which were contaminated with red tide since the last quarter of 2015 are now red tide free, a report from Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional office in Eastern Visayas (BFAR-8) said.
BFAR-8 Regional Director Juan Albaladejo told reporters that latest laboratory results conducted revealed that Maqueda and Villareal Bays, both in Samar province are now free of red tide toxins which causes paralytic shellfish poisoning. He said that shellfish and other marine products collected along the said bays are now safe for human consumption.
Albaladejo, however warned that the other six bays in the region continue to be contaminated with red tide toxin.
The present red tide bloom that have been occurring since 1983 in Eastern Visayas’ eight bays and coastal waters – considered to be a major producer and supplier of green mussels in the country – has affected the mussel industry in the region and the livelihood of thousands of fishermen, Albaladejo said.
He said the current red tide alert had been raised since last October, 2015, over Villareal Bay in Villareal, Samar; and Maqueda Bay in Jiabong, Catbalogan City, Motiong, Paranas, San Sebastian, Pinabacdao, Hinabangan, and Calbiga, Samar (which are now free of red tide) and in Cambatutay Bay in Tarangnan, Samar; Irong Irong Bay in Catbalogan City, Samar which are still red tide-contaminated areas.
The same red tide alert still covers Carigara Bay covering Carigara, San Miguel, Barugo, Leyte, and Capoocan towns all in this province and also in Biliran province in the bays covering the towns of Naval, Almeria, Biliran, Culaba, Cabucgayan, Kawayan, and Caibiran.
The red tide bloom which started appearing in the waters here during the last quarter of 2015 has reportedly caused the death of a seven-year old boy and has hospitalized 22 others in Leyte and Biliran provinces.