The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) asked local government units (LGUs) to continue the monitoring of the Maqueda and Villareal Bays in Samar despite lifting of shellfish ban in the area.

BFAR Regional Director Juan D. Albaladejo said continuous monitoring should be sustained to safeguard public health and protect shellfish industry. The regular checking of water samples is necessary since nearby Irong-Irong Bay is still positive of red tide toxins. The fisheries bureau lifted Friday, August 8, the shellfish ban in mussel-rich bays in Samar province after three weeks of testing showing negative results of paralytic shellfish poisoning. Maqueda Bay and its inner portion of Villareal Bay are one of the top mussel-producing areas in the country, supporting the livelihood of 651 households in Samar to include traders, processors, bamboo splitters, and transport operators.

Samar traders ship mussels to Metro Manila, Davao City, Bicol, and Cebu City, according to BFAR. Maqueda Bay covers the towns of Jiabong, Daram, Pinabacdao, Talalora, San Sebastian, Villareal, and Calbiga. According to BFAR, mussel farming is a big industry in Samar with the two bays producing 10,616 metric tons of mussels worth P43.24 million. However, Irong-Irong Bay in Catbalogan City is still positive of red tide toxins since July both in water and shellfish meat.

Source: Sun Star