BFAR raises red tide alert in 2 Mindanao coastal areas

By Ferdinand Patinio and Sarwell Meniano

October 27, 2023, 4:37 pm

<p><em>(Photo courtesy of BFAR)</em></p>

(Photo courtesy of BFAR)

MANILA – Residents in Mindanao are warned against eating shellfish and other seafood from two coastal areas in Mindanao after these tested positive for red tide, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported on Friday.

In Shellfish Bulletin No. 25, Series of 2023, the agency said Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur and the coastal waters of San Benito in Surigao del Norte have been found to have Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP).

Aside from these areas, BFAR also reported that Sapian Bay (Ivisan and Sapian in Capiz; Mambuquiao and Camanci, Batan in Aklan); coastal waters of Pilar; President Roxas; Roxas City in Capiz; coastal waters of Gigantes Islands, Carles in Iloilo; coastal waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol; and Dumanquillas Bay in Zamboanga del Sur are still positive for red tide that is beyond the regulatory limit.

BFAR warned the public that shellfish collected and tested from these coastal areas are not safe to eat.

“All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang gathered from the areas shown above are not safe for human consumption,” it said.

However, BFAR said "fish, squids, shrimps, and crabs" are safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking. 

Meanwhile, the red tide phenomenon has also expanded in Samar provinces, affecting Maqueda Bay, the region’s top producer of green mussels.

In an advisory, BFAR said as of this week, six bays are affected by the toxic organisms.

Water samples collected in Maqueda Bay in the towns of Jiabong, Motiong, Paranas, San Sebastian, Calbiga, Pinabacdao, and Hinabangan towns in Samar tested positive for toxic red tide.

Green mussel production is concentrated in Jiabong, which harvests about 200 sacks daily. Each sack trades at PHP1,500.

Jiabong serves as a central trading center from where mussels are shipped to Metro Manila, Davao City, Bicol, Cebu City, and other parts of the country.

Earlier, red tide was found in water samples collected from Cambatutay Bay in Tarangnan town, San Pedro Bay in Basey town, the coastal waters of Calbayog City, and Irong-Irong Bay in Catbalogan City, all in Samar; and Matarinao Bay in the towns of General MacArthur, Quinapondan, Hernani, and Salcedo in Eastern Samar. (PNA)