Red tide alert up anew in Sorsogon, Masbate

By Cet Dematera


The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has again raised this week red tide (paralytic shellfish toxin) warning in Sorsogon Bay and Asid Gulf in Masbate, three months after lifting the ban on shellfish in the two provinces.


BFAR-Bicol spokesperson Nonie Enolva said they based the raising of red tide warning after shellfish samples that they took from these two bodies of water turned positive with pyrodinium bahamense or the PSP-toxin producing dinoflagellates.


“Based on the laboratory examination conducted by the BFAR-National Fisheries Laboratory, shellfish samples collected along Sorsogon Bay and Asid Gulf are positive for paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) using receptor binding assay (RBA), BFAR said in an official red tide warning advisory.


“The resurgence of red tide toxins is usually triggered by changes in climatic condition and presence of agricultural wastes that lead to harmful algal bloom,” Enolva told Bicol Mail.


BFAR warned the public to refrain from gathering, selling, buying and eating all types of shellfishes and Acetes, species locally known as “alamang” from Sorsogon City and coastal waters of Milagros, Masbate, to avoid possible shellfish poisoning.


But BFAR clarified that fish, squids, shrimps and crabs are safe for human consumption “provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs, such as gills and intestines, are removed before cooking.”


Enolva said that BFAR and the concerned local government units (LGUs) closely monitor Asid Gulf, particularly the coastal waters of Milagros town in Masbate “to safeguard public health and protect the shellfish industry.”


BFAR initially issued the red tide warning last Dec. 5, 2020 and it was lifted on March 23 this year.