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Weed turnoff for tourists

Thursday January 14, 2016 Written by Published in Environment

 Tourists are making known their displeasure at the state of Muri lagoon, with many becoming vocal online about the unsightly algae growth.

The international travel review website Trip Advisor has published a number of comments from holidaymakers unhappy with the growth of green algae blanketing Muri lagoon and now washing ashore the tourism hotspot.

One tourist writes that she is staying in Muri and is enjoying the weather and the “Cook Islands’ vibe.”

“But I’m not enjoying the mess we see that washes up on the shore everyday… the green algae infestation in the lagoon is a serious problem that needs to be addressed urgently or tourism to the area will be adversely affected.

“Not one to normally complain, but I read with concern a report by Cook Islands Tourism chief executive officer Halatoa Fua that the huge piles of green algae washing up on the shores of the lagoon are not a big issue and that ‘some people are enjoying the green algae because it is attracting fish’.”

Another tourist who recently spent two weeks in Rarotonga said he was glad his family was not staying in Muri.

“…I found when that when you got out on the water that there was a lot of algae floating around. All of the businesses along the beach would actually have to go out and rake up all of the algae off the beach during low tide.”

Another visitor said Muri lagoon used to be the best spot on the island.

“My recent visit was very disappointing to see all the algae and hardly any fish in the lagoon. There might be a lot of things to hire and restaurants, but the lagoon itself is unattractive; it smells very bad and has hardly any fish in it.”

A group of volunteer experts has been set up to draft an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report on options for clearing out the lagoon.

Group member Paul Maoate of Infrastructure Cook Islands said it had been decided to break the EIA into three separate applications.

The first was the option of removing the Aroko fish trap, the second involved dredging the lagoon and the third looked at ways of physically removing the algae or removing blockages in the reef.

CI News understands the report will be circulated around technical experts who will be able to change and add information.

The report will then be given to the National Enviroment Service before going to public consultation.

However, Rarotonga Enviroment Authority has the final say on what will be done at Muri.


  • Comment Link Helen Wednesday, 02 March 2016 11:50 posted by Helen


    Muri - Rarotonga is such a beautiful spot. Tourist like myself come here for the crystal blue water and white sands.

    I hope the local government and resorts are doing something to fix this problem. It could be detrimental to the tourism of the Cook Island and to the lively hood of the wonderful people in the Cook Island.

    Thank you,

  • Comment Link AB Monday, 01 February 2016 20:37 posted by AB

    this needs to be addressed right now; it's been reported back in Australia and we now have people wanting to cancel bookings. The Cook Islands cannot afford this type of publicity. Come on everybody it's time to lobby to get this sorted

  • Comment Link Matty Wednesday, 27 January 2016 19:30 posted by Matty

    This one's toovbig to ignore. Don't allow politics and business to get in the way of what is a major concern for our country. Phoney scientific explanations and uneducated speculative opinion will not cut the mustard.
    Fix it, it is the greatest investment the government can make of our time.

  • Comment Link William Friday, 15 January 2016 05:08 posted by William

    Much talk about this problem, had a couple cancel and go to Fiji instead, after being on TV it did a lot of damage....come on Cook Island fix it quick.

  • Comment Link Jason Thursday, 14 January 2016 21:32 posted by Jason

    People love the cook islands for the environment so look after it and keep the tourist money coming in.
    Also get some more shops and restaurants so mother can go shopping and I can tag along.

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