By Marie Tonette Grace Marticio
Tacloban City – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Region 8 hopes that the coming rainy season will finally clear Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar from red tide.
BFAR 8 Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said that they could not really predict as to when the natural phenomenon would end so they just depend on the forces of nature to rid the bodies of water of red tide.
“I am hoping that the prevailing weather circumstances will favor the disappearance of this red tide event, considering that lower salinity and increasing waves are the conditions unfavorable for the red tide bloom,” he said.
BFAR’s latest laboratory examination on the shellfish samples collected in the area for three consecutive weeks, and the local government units’ (LGUs) monitoring reveal that the area remains affected with red tide toxin for more than a month now.
Last month, Eastern Samar provincial fisheries officer Nelia Tomayao issued a precautionary warning to the public to refrain from gathering, selling and eating all types of shellfish and Acetes sp. locally known as ‘alamang or hipon’ from Matarinao Bay to avoid possible paralytic shellfish poisoning as a result of eating red tide-contaminated seafood.
Although there is no aquaculture production of shellfish in Matarinao Bay which can be adversely affected by the red tide phenomenon, Albaladejo said that there are still fisher folks who gather shellfish for consumption.
Albaladejo noted that Matarinao Bay has a history of long episodes of red tide occurrence that last up to a year since it first appeared in 2011.
“The main reason is the configuration of the bay, which can be characterized as “cul de sac,” so the movement of water is restricted. Thus, it tends to maintain and sustain the bloom for fertilization in shallow portions of the bay from the land,” he explained.
BFAR 8 meanwhile said the coastal waters of Samar, Tacloban, Leyte and Biliran province continue to be free from red tide toxins. (Marie Tonette Grace Marticio)