• The regional office of BFAR said that the red tide toxins found on May 27 found in Samar had spread to nearby areas
  • Officials said the red tide had spread to Maqueda Bay, Villareal Bay and Carigara Bay
  • Reports said that two children died because of red tide poisoning

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has expressed concern over the red tide happening in Eastern Visayas which has already killed two children.

Sarwell Q. Meniano mentioned in his article for InterAksyon that the regional office of BFAR in Samar said that the red tide toxins found on May 27 in Irong Irong Bay in Tarangnan, Samar and Cambatutay Bay in Catbalogan City, have now spread to nearby areas such as Maqueda Bay, Villareal Bay, and Carigara Bay.

Maqueda Bay is a major source of mussels for residents of different areas in Samar, including Jiabong, Catbalogan City, Motiong, Paranas, Pinabacdao, Hinabangan, San Sebastian, and Calbiga.

The mentioned areas also ship shellfish to Manila for export.

Meanwhile, another rich source of shellfish is Carigara Bay in Carigara, Barugo, San Miguel, Leyte, and Capoocan towns in Leyte province.

Juan Albaladejo, BFAR regional director, said that a family of seven from Cagutsan Village, Sierra Island in Catbalogan City were hospitalized after eating pen shell locally known as “sarad”.

The family was first brought to the Samar Provincial Hospital and then later to the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center.

An article by Mel Caspe for The Standard said that two children already died because of red tide poisoning.

On July 17, an 11-year-old girl from the same family in Cagutsan village died due to paralytic shellfish poisoning.

On July 20, another family from San Andres village also in Catbalogan consumed mussels which they bought from a village market. Two of their children suffered stomach pain and were hospitalized.

A five-year-old boy succumbed to dehydration at the Samar Provincial Hospital the same day.

Because of these incidents, the fisheries bureau have asked local government units to assist in the information drive against red tide. This includes the enforcement of shellfish ban, which strictly prohibits consumption, trading, and transport of shellfish gathered from infested bays.

“It’s unfortunate that these incidents happen despite effort to warn the public starting from the onset of red tide recurrence,” Alabaladejo said.

“We reiterate our public advisory to refrain from eating, harvesting, marketing, and buying shellfishes and Acetes sp. from affected bays until such time that the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory level,” he added.