Sea Water quality is one of the driving factors for a thriving coral reef. MES conducts sea water quality tests with all its member resorts twice a year, to determine preselected parameters analysed are within acceptable levels or not. These parameters; salinity, nitrates, phosphates and faecal coliform are contributing factors to coral and algae growth and the general health of a reef.
MES conducted the sea water sampling on the 26th of May at all twelve resorts during ebbing tide , the tide chosen for minimal input.. The sampling day and time is also determined using the weather, good weather, without rain for almost a week is favourable as this promises minimal dilution.
At the sampling site, unopened Fiji water bottles are used to collect the samples, first rinsing the newly opened bottles with the water to be sampled. Once water is collected from the sea at an arms length depth, the bottles are stored in an esky of ice – this is done to prevent the faecal coliform – a bacteria multiplying using the heat from its surroundings. Results obtained are compared with the Australian and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council (ANZEEC 2002) Seawater Standards and guidelines, the acceptable level of nitrates is 0.01-0.06 mg/L, the acceptable level for phosphate is 0.001-0.010mg/L and the acceptable level of faecal coliform bacteria is >1 FC/ 100ml.
In total 24 sites were sampled. The samples are transported to the Water Authority Laboratory in Suva, to be analysed within 24 hours. Upon receipt of results, reports are produced for each member resort with corresponding recommendations for resorts on areas that need to be addressed and improved on. MES would like to thank all our member resorts for facilitating with the water sampling activity, transferring staff to and from sampling sites and provision of the sample bottles. Vinaka vakalevu!