Tacloban City—The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional office here has imposed a shellfish ban in Irong-Irong Bay in Samar due to the presence of toxic microorganisms that trigger red tide phenomenon.
BFAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said water samples collected along the bay in Catbalogan City and Tarangnan, Samar are positive of Pyrodinium bahamense variety compressum, a microorganism that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning or PSP.
The fisheries bureau did the initial test on June 10. Samples were sent to BFAR Central Marine Biotoxin Laboratory in Metro Manila for confirmation.
“To safeguard human lives while waiting for the result of the confirmatory test of shellfish samples sent to our main office, we are issuing this warning as precautionary advice to the public to refrain from gathering, selling, and eating all types of shellfish,” Albaladejo said in a mobile phone interview Thursday.
The fisheries bureau also banned the trading and consumption of Acetes sp. locally known as “alamang” harvested from the bay to avoid possible shellfish poisoning.
PSP occurs mostly from ingesting bivalve shellfish (such as mussels, oysters, and clams) that contain toxins which can cause severe and life-threatening neurological effects.
According to the fisheries bureau, the first harmful algal bloom associated with red tide microorganisms was first recorded in Samar on June 21, 1983, that killed 21 people and hospitalized nearly 300 people.
Since then, red tide recurrence has been episodic, resulting in sudden economic losses, and sometimes leading to unexpected loss of lives.
Aside from Irong-Irong Bay, red tide alert has been up in Marabut and Basey, Samar and in San Pedro Bay, Western Samar the past three months.