BFAR clears San Pedro Bay of red ride, lifts shellfish ban in Eastern Visayas

BFAR clears San Pedro Bay of red ride, lifts shellfish ban in Eastern Visayas

BFAR lifts shellfish ban in Eastern Visayas as San Pedro Bay cleared of red tide. Photo: BFAR-8/Facebook

TACLOBAN CITY – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) issued an advisory on Tuesday stating that San Pedro Bay in Samar province has been cleared of red tide, effectively eliminating the toxic organism from the coastal waters of Eastern Visayas. 

BFAR conducted three consecutive weeks of sampling in Samar, where red tide resurfaced in San Pedro Bay six months ago, and negative results for paralytic shellfish poisoning were obtained. 

Regional Director Demosthenes Escoto of BFAR Eastern Visayas announced that "shellfish samples harvested from San Pedro Bay in Samar are now safe for human consumption. Likewise, gathering, harvesting, and marketing shellfish from the above-mentioned area are now permitted."

Under Shellfish Bulletin No. 7, all bays in Eastern Visayas are now red tide-free based on the latest sampling by BFAR. While the shellfish ban has been lifted across the region, the BFAR continues to monitor all coastal waters to detect any potential resurgence. 

Areas like Daram and Zumarraga, Cambatutay, Irong-irong, Maqueda, and Villareal Bays in Samar; Guiuan and Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; Leyte, Calubian, Ormoc, Sogod, Carigara Bay, and Cancabato Bay, Tacloban City in Leyte; and coastal waters of Biliran Island are regularly checked for water samples, having a history of red tide recurrence in the past years.

BFAR conducts water sample tests in their regional laboratory to ensure the safety of shellfish collected from these areas for human consumption.

In the case of red tide detection, BFAR collects and sends meat to their national laboratory for further analysis. Red tide is a term that refers to the discoloration of water caused by high algal biomass or the concentration of algae, and it can be toxic, posing a threat to public health and marine life.

The lifting of the shellfish ban is welcome news for the region's fishing industry and seafood consumers, who rely on seafood as a source of food and livelihood. 

BFAR reminds the public to follow proper handling and cooking practices for shellfish to avoid potential health hazards. —iTacloban (Source: BFAR)

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