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Shellfish ban: Red tide alert up in Samar

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines — Five bays in Samar province have tested positive for red tide toxin, prompting the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to ban the gathering and trade of shellfish in these areas.

The alert covered San Pedro Bay in the towns of Basey and Marabut; Maqueda Bay, particularly the town of Jiabong that is considered the “tahong” (green mussels) capital of Eastern Visayas; Silanga Bay and Irong-Irong Bay, both in Catbalogan City; and Cambatutay Bay in Tarangnan town. The BFAR said samples of shellfish gathered in these waters had traces of microorganisms causing paralytic shellfish poisoning.

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A BFAR bulletin also showed that Puerto Princesa Bay in Palawan province; Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur province; and the coastal waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol province were positive for red tide toxin.

The BFAR cautioned residents near these bays against gathering, selling and eating all types of shellfish and “alamang” (krill) or “hipon” (small shrimp) from these areas to avoid poisoning.

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The red tide alert, however, had been lifted in the coastal waters of Balite Bay in Davao Oriental province, according to a BFAR bulletin.—Reports from Joey Gabieta and Karl Ocampo

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