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Residents advised to avoid swimming in Muri lagoon

Thursday 31 December 2020 | Written by Emmanuel Samoglou | Published in Environment, National


Residents advised to avoid swimming in Muri lagoon
Aerial of Muri Lagoon in late December, looking south. PHOTO: Lara Ainley, MMR 20123116

Government is advising residents to avoid swimming and the harvesting of seafood in Muri Lagoon.

Scientists with the Ministry of Marine Resources believe the lagoon has recently experienced an anoxic event, which occurs when a body of water is depleted of significant amounts of dissolved oxygen - a requirement for marine life.

This week, the lagoon was saturated with sediment and also released a foul smell.

A variety of dead animals were also found along the shoreline, including fish, eels, sea cucumbers and polychaetes – marine worms that usually live in the sand.

The anoxic event is believed to be the result of higher water temperatures, low tides, minimal water movement, and the rapid decomposition of algae.

Tests carried out by MMR have indicated the presence of bacteria levels which could be harmful to humans, prompting the government to advise residents to avoid swimming in the lagoon around the Muri area.

In a statement to CI News, MMR said it is monitoring the situation, however, little can be done in the short-term to address the problem.

More details to follow in Saturday’s print edition of CI News and cookislandsnews.com.