TACLOBAN CITY,  (PNA) –- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has intercepted on Tuesday five shipments of shellfish gathered from Samar bays found to be positive of red tide toxins.

BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said quarantine officers seized sacks of shellfish at the roll-on roll-off port in Allen, Northern Samar scheduled for shipment to Luzon late Monday night until Tuesday morning.

“We received information that it will be shipped to Bicol region and Manila via bus. The 1,404 kilograms of nylon shells are destined for export to Taiwan,” Albaladejo said in a phone interview.

Other shellfish seized by authorities from traders were 180 kilograms of mussel, 240 kilograms of bamboo shell, 80 kilograms of clam.

“BFAR has already identified the shipper. We will summon them and file a case as well,” Albaladejo said.

The presence of red tide calls for prohibition in the gathering, trading and consumption of shellfish from identified areas.

On Nov. 20, BFAR has raised red tide alert over Irong Irong Bay in Catbalogan City, Samar; Maqueda Bay in Jiabong, Samar; Cambatutay Bay in Tarangnan, Samar; Carigara Bays in Leyte province and Biliran Strait in Biliran province.

“The red tide bloom originating from Cambatutay Bay and Carigara Bays have now to Biliran Strait with readings of red tide organisms above the 10 cells per liter of seawater in almost all towns of Biliran province,” Albaladejo said.

“The tide also move inward of Maqueda Bay with high readings in coastal waters of Villareal towns,” he added.

The fisheries bureau has stepped up water sampling activities in affected areas to ensure safety of shellfish consumers. (PNA)