Water quality is one of the essential constituents to a thriving healthy reef. It also affects human health either directly or indirectly. MES conducts sea sampling around member resort properties twice a year in May and October representing summer and winter seasons in Fiji. The organization has a 4 years database on seawater result on faecal coliform (FC) bacteria, salinity and nutrients- phosphates (P) and nitrates (N). The results are compared with the Australian and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council (ANZEEC 2002) Seawater Standards and guidelines ensuring that the levels nutrients do not affect coral growth and faecal coliform level do not affect public health and seawater is safe for primary and secondary recreational activities. The acceptable level of nitrates and phosphate that will not cause eutrophication (excessive growth of algae) is 0.01-0.06 mg/L and 0.001-0.010 mg/L respectively. The acceptable level of fecal coliform bacteria is less than 1 FC/ 100 ml.
MES conducted its last sea water sampling around its member resorts during the morning outgoing tide on the 8th of October 2014. Despite the scattered locations of each sampling site, the uneven weather conditions, MES staff conducted the sampling exercise with the assistance of member resort and marine staff that provided assistance and boat transfer to the next sampling time. All the samples were well preserved under 4 degree of ice during transportation A total of 22 sites were collected and later transported to Suva for analysis at the Water Authority of Fiji laboratory. Reports will be produced to each resort management once the results are revealed with recommendations for better waste management practices in supporting healthy biodiversity and public health.
MES would like to thank all its Cooperate Sponsors and member resorts in supporting the seawater monitoring program.