The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) continued to impose a shellfish ban in Tagbilaran City and Dauis as samples taken from the coastal areas still tested positive for paralytic shellfish poison, or red tide toxin.
The red tide alert has been hoisted over the two localities for almost two years.
According to BFAR Bohol officer-in-charge Candido Sumijon, the waters off Dauis and Tagbilaran are the only areas that continued to test positive for aquatic microorganisms that cause paralytic shellfish poison in the entire Central Visayas.
The BFAR earlier hoisted red tide alerts over Siaton and Bais in Negros Oriental but these were lifted by the agency way back in 2017.
Based on the BFAR’s Shellfish Bulletin No. 1 which was issued on January 16, the following areas tested positive for paralytic shellfish poison:
- Coastal waters of Bataan
- Puerto Princesa Bay, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan
- Coastal waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol
- Irong-irong Bay in Western Samar
- Silanga Bay in Western Samar
- San Pedro Bay in Western Samar
- Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar
- Cancabato Bay, Tacloban City in Leyte
- Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur
The BFAR maintained that shellfish and Acetes sp. (alamang) gathered from red tide areas are not fit for human consumption. These should not be harvested, eaten or sold.
Fish, squids, shrimps and crabs caught in red tide-infested waters on the other hand are safe for human consumption provided they are freshly caught and are washed thoroughly.
Earlier, BFAR Bohol conducted an “experimental” planting of seaweeds in waters off Barangay Bool in Tagbilaran City which they hoped would help in reducing red tide toxins in the area by absorbing nutrients that cause the number of phytoplankton, or microalgae, to increase.
The increase in the density of phytoplankton or microalgae can cause high concentration of algal bloom, commonly known as red tide.
The measure however was discontinued after the plants were washed away by strong winds and rains that hit the city late last year.
According to Sumijon, the project did not last long enough to determine if it was effective in reducing red tide toxins.
The BFAR and the Tagbilaran agriculture bureau could still restart the initiative but there has been no concrete plan for reviving the initiative as of now.
The red tide alert in Dauis and Tagbilaran City has been imposed since March, 2018.
In 2016, waters off both localities were listed as red tide-affected areas but were later cleared in April, 2017. (A. Doydora)