THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has banned shellfish from coastal waters of several provinces in central and southern Philippines due to red tide. 

The waters of Leyte, Bataan, Masbate, Bohol, Eastern Samar, Zamboanga del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur tested positive for paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) or toxic red tide beyond the regulatory limit, it said in a Dec. 10 bulletin, citing laboratory results. 

All shellfish and krill harvested from these areas are considered unsafe for eating. Other seafood such fish, squid, shrimp and crabs are safe after these are cleaned and their internal organs are removed. 

The specific areas affected by red tide are Milagros, Masbate; Dauis and Tagbilaran City, Bohol; Dumanquillas Bay, Zamboanga del Sur;  Carigara Bay, Leyte; Matarinao Bay and Guiuan, Eastern Samar; San Benito and Litalit Bay, Surigao del Norte; and Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur. 

The waters of Baroy in Lanao del Norte were free of red tide. 

PSP is a naturally occurring marine biotoxin. Consuming an infected shellfish can affect the nervous system, cause severe illness and in extreme cases, death. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson