Another bay was added to Eastern Visayas’ list of red tide-infected coastal areas this year, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said in its latest advisory.
BFAR confirmed red tide toxins were found in the coastal waters of Calubian, Leyte.
Contamination is still prevalent in Guiuan, Eastern Samar; Villareal Bay in Samar; Cambatutay Bay in Tarangnan, Samar; coastal waters of Zumarraga, Samar; and coastal waters of Leyte; Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City; Matarinao Bay stretching across the towns of General MacArthur, Hernani, Quinapondan and Salcedo in Eastern Samar.
The coastal waters of Biliran in Biliran province; Carigara Bay — Babatngon, San Miguel, Barugo, Carigara, and Capoocan in Leyte; Irong-irong Bay in Catbalogan City, Samar; San Pedro Bay in Basey, Samar; Maqueda Bay in the towns of Jiabong, Motiong, Paranas, San Sebastian, Calbiga, Pinabacdao, and Hinabangan in Samar; and the coastal waters of Daram, Samar are also infested by toxins.
What has been happening in the Pacific Ocean has a direct impact on unpredictable weather conditions in Eastern Visayas, according to BFAR assistant director for operations Juan Albaladejo.
“This started in the third quarter of the year where a mild El Niño caused a long dry season with occasional heavy rainfall events that triggered the upwelling of inner shallow bays, bringing sediments laden with red tide microorganism cysts,” he said.
BFAR issued warnings anew against gathering, selling and eating all types of shellfish.
The fisheries bureau also banned the trading and consumption of alamang (small shrimps) to avoid possible shellfish poisoning while local government units were banned from gathering, marketing and transporting shellfish to infested areas.
This started in the third quarter of the year where a mild El Niño caused a long dry season with occasional heavy rainfall events that triggered the upwelling of inner shallow bays, bringing sediments laden with red tide microorganism cysts.
“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,” the advisory read.
In September, two children aged three and eight died after eating red tide-laden green mussels in Daram, Samar.
Harmful algal blooms occur when algae grow out of control and produce toxins that may kill people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds.
Toxins 1,000 times more potent than cyanide and toxin levels contained in just a single shellfish can cause death to humans due to paralytic shellfish poisoning.
Symptoms include tingling (pins and needles) sensation; numbness that spread from lips and mouth to face, neck and extremities; dizziness; arm and leg weakness; headache; nausea; and vomiting.
Experts say paralytic shellfish poison is not destroyed by cooking or freezing.