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Saving Mussels from White Tide of Samar

PHILIPPINES - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) office in the Samar region announced last week that it would be launching a massive clean-up drive at a coastal town in Samar to combat harmful algal blooms that have been killing mussels in the area.

BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said the area in Jiabong, Samar, has been suffering from "white tide" or harmful algal blooms (HAB) since November last year, a phenomenon caused by excess phosphates and nitrates on the seabed.

According to anews report from ABS-CBN, he said this has caused massive deaths of mussels and a 90 per cent decrease in mussel production in the area, amounting to almost P38 million in losses to the industry. The decline affected at least 137 registered farmers in Jiabong, the top mussel-production municipality.

Jertrodis Cabanag, 52, who has been a mussel farmer for 27 years, said the crisis caused a big loss of income.

"Before, they can harvest mussel for one hundred sacks a day. But now, they can harvest [only] one sack of mussels a day," she told ABS-CBN. Cabanag and other mussel farmers have appealed to local government units and other concerned agencies to help them save their livelihood.

the Fish Site Editor

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