Red tide up in Samar and Eastern Samar

Red tide up in Samar and Eastern Samar

/ 10:42 AM June 23, 2024

red tide

BLOOD RED Water underneath houses in four villages in Ozamiz City turns red, causing alarm among residents. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources says tests on water samples confirmed the presence of red tide toxin in the area. (File photo from THATA ROXAS/CONTRIBUTOR)

TACLOBAN CITY — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Eastern Visayas has warned the public not to eat, collect or sell all types of shellfish in two bays and the coastal waters in Samar.

The announcement is due to the presence of a toxic microorganism that causes red tide.

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In a June 19 advisory, the BFAR said it recorded the presence of Pyrodinium bahamense, a toxic microorganism that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in the coastal waters of Eastern Samar.

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The affected areas are Irong-Irong Bay in Catbalogan City in Samar and Matarinao Bay in General MacArthur, Quinapondan, Hernani, and Salcedo in Eastern Samar.

A local advisory was also issued by the Eastern Samar provincial fishery office in Guiuan town, warning about the presence of red tide toxin in the coastal waters of Guiuan.

BFAR has advised the public not to collect, sell, eat or transport all types of shellfish and Acetes sp., locally known as “alamang” or “hipon,” from the affected bays and bodies of water.

Fish, squid, shrimp and crabs are considered safe for human consumption, provided these produce are fresh, thoroughly washed, and their internal organs, such as gills and intestines, are removed before cooking.

BFAR said it is monitoring the affected areas to safeguard public health and protect the shellfish industry.

The bureau regularly analyzes water samples through its regional laboratory in Tacloban City to check if the shellfish from different bays are safe for human consumption.

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Red tide is a term used to describe a phenomenon where the water gets discolored by high algal biomass or the high concentration of algae.

Consuming toxic shellfish can lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning which affects the nervous system within 30 minutes after consumption.

Symptoms of PSP include tingling of the lips and tongue which spreads to the face, neck, fingertips and toes.

It can also cause headache, dizziness and nausea, among others.

In severe cases, BFAR said muscular paralysis and difficulty in breathing may occur within five to twelve 12 hours.

Red tide happens when there is an overgrowth of algae, which causes the color of water to turn to red, or green or brown.

Some of these algae produce toxic chemicals, contaminating the shellfish that consume them.

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So far, there is no antidote or direct treatment for PSP, but BFAR said symptoms may be treated by inducing vomiting and pumping the stomach.

TAGS: Eastern Samar, red tide, Samar

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