red-tideTACLOBAN CITY, Oct. 12 (PNA) – Red tide toxins remain in five bays in Eastern Visayas, prompting the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to urge local government units to strictly enforce shellfish ban.

For several months, the contamination thrives in Irong Irong and Cambatutay Bays in Samar; Carigara Bay in Leyte; coastal waters of Leyte, Leyte; and Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Director Juan Albaladejo warned that all types of shellfish taken from affected bays in the region are positive of red tide toxins.

According to local red tide advisory dated Oct. 10, 2016, red tide toxins found in the seawaters of the five bays are beyond the regulatory limit.

“All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang gathered from these areas are not safe for human consumption,” Albaladejo said.

“Thus, the public is advised to refrain from eating, harvesting, marketing, and buying shellfishes and Acetes sp. from Irong-irong Bay and Cambatutay Bay until such time that the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory level,” he added.

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, according to BFAR.

With the recent spate of red tide bloom, the fisheries bureau asked local government units to enforce shellfish ban to ensure public safety.

“We have been issuing local bulletins to inform local officials, but I have to admit that some are not really seriously enforcing the ban,” the BFAR regional chief added.

A few weeks ago, the Fisheries bureau lifted the shellfish ban in Maqueda and Villareal bays in Samar, and Cancabato Bay in Leyte. (PNA) Sarwell Q. Meniano.