Red tide alert up in BoholBy Jhunnex Napallacan
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources office in Bohol has raised a red tide alert in the capital city of Tagbilaran.
Residents are warned against the gathering and eating shellfish from a section of Maribujoc Bay, particularly the waters between Tagbilaran City and the town of Dauis.
Cresencio Pahamutang, BFAR provincial officer based in Tagbilaran, said shellfish gathered along Tagbilaran-Dauis channel, which separates the island of Panglao from the Bohol main island, was not safe to eat due to the high level of the red tide toxin.
At least three barangays were affected by red tide. These were Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Cogon, a portion of Mansasa and part of Booy, all located along the Tagbilaran-Dauis channel.
Pahamutang all the barangay captains and councilors in these villages were asked to disseminate the information to their constituents.
Pahamutang said fish caught in the area may be eaten provided they were prepared and cleaned properly and their gills and intestines taken out.
The red tide alarm started around three weeks ago when a foreigner staying at Matig-a Lodge on Burgos Street in Tagbilaran City noticed the red coloration of the sea below the lodge.
According to Pahamutang, the management of the lodge reported the water discoloration to the BFAR, which immediately sent personnel to take water samples from at least seven places in the area, he said.
The tests were positive for red tide. A second sampling last week showed lower toxin levels but they were still higher than normal, Pahamutang said.
The BFAR will another water sampling on Thursday to determine if the situation has returned to normal and would warrant a lifting of the public warning.
Pahamutang said he sent a kilogram of mussels gathered from the affected areas to the BFAR laboratory in Manila but the samples were found negative for red tide. Still, Pahamutang said, the BFAR could not lift the warning based on that alone.
He noted that no one was reported to have been taken ill, which could be due to the early detection of the red tide in the area.