Avoid beaches in NorMin affected by ‘red tide’ – BFAR

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/11 April) — Swimmers and divers have been warned to stay away from the beaches and seas in Northern Mindanao affected by the red tide phenomenon that have killed hundreds of bangus fry and kitong (rabbitfish) in Northern Mindanao.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 10 Director Visa Tan-Dimeren issued the warning as more reports of fish kills trickled to their office from the provinces affected by the algal bloom.

The latest report on the red tide said 100 kilos of fish were found floating in Danao, Plaridel town in Misamis Occidental Wednesday, the BFAR reported.

“Red tide does not harm people really but we want to be on the safe side. We warned swimmers and divers not to go in on affected waters,” Dimeren said.

She said swimmers and divers may experience a burning sensation in their eyes skin irritation and especially if they have sensitive skin.

She advised those who may experience skin irritation to rinse thoroughly with fresh.

“It really depends on how sensitive your skin is. We dipped our hands on the affected water surface the other day but we did not experience any irritation,” Dimeren narrated.

BFAR assistant regional director Asuncion Maputol said the red tide has spread along the coast lines of Misamis Oriental and as far away as the towns of Baliangao, Sapang Dalaga and Lopez Jaena in Misamis Occidental.

Maputol said the algal bloom has already killed 8,000 kitong fishes worth P80,000 in Kauswagan town in Lanao del Norte.

She said badly affected is the Mariculture Park in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental where 45,594 pieces of bangus worth P550, 560 died from the toxins.

“The red tide came in patches and they are very visible in the morning until 3pm in the afternoon. Not all the beaches are covered with red tide patches,” she clarified.

Maputol said in some beaches, swimmers were seen in the waters not far from where the red patches were located but no visible effect was observed among them.

“We are not issuing a ban on swimming but we are advising swimmers and divers to stay away from the red tide patches visible in the water surface,” Maputol said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)