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After roughly 5 years, E. Visayas is red tide-free: BFAR

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said on Tuesday that all bays in Eastern Visayas are now free of red tide toxins after nearly five years of infestation.

Seven bays were cleaned of red tide organisms as a result of laboratory tests conducted Monday night, clearing the door for the region to be red tide-free.

“We’re finally red tide-free, after nearly five years of regular red tide advisories.” Hopefully, with the weather interplay, we will have a longer period like this. In a phone conversation, BFAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Juan Albaladejo remarked, “We need this to have a healthy harvest of shellfish items.”

On June 9, 2017, the region was declared red tide-free for the first time.

BFAR has imposed a shellfish restriction in many places since then, till February 7.

San Pedro Bay in Basey, Samar; coastal waters of Leyte, Leyte; Carigara Bay in Capoocan, Carigara, Barugo, San Miguel, and Babatngon in Leyte; Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City; Guiuan, Eastern Samar; Matarinao Bay in General MacArthur, Hernani, Quinapondan, and Salcedo in Eastern Samar; and coastal waters of Biliran

Red tide has been recurring in Matarinao Bay, Carigara Bay, and Cancabato Bay since 2017.

“Even if the shellfish prohibition is lifted in certain locations, we will continue to conduct active surveillance because we are still having rain.” This could result in outflow of organic-rich soil sediments, which could have fertilized the red tide cyst in these bays,” Albaladejo told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

BFAR has been testing water samples in its regional laboratory on a regular basis to guarantee that shellfish collected from these locations are safe to eat.

They collect and send meat to their national laboratory for full analysis if seawaters test positive for red tide.

The term “red tide” refers to a phenomena in which the water becomes coloured due to high algal biomass or concentrations.

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