Seafood,Water Safe

‘The volcanic ash and pumice could have an impact on marine life however, this does not mean that seafood caught in Fiji waters could not be consumed.’
21 Jan 2022 10:31
Seafood,Water Safe
Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau.

Seafood in Fijian waters is safe for consumption.

This was the assurance made by Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau, yesterday.

Mr Koroilavesau said Fijians in the Maritime Islands need not worry about consuming seafood that they harvest from the sea.

When queried about the impacts of acid rain on marine life, he said it did not pose any threat.

“It is safe,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

“The acid level that is in the rainwater is very quickly diluted into the sea water and that means no threat for Fijians to consume seafood,” he said.

Minister for Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu, said while fish would be dying near where the volcanic eruption had occurred because of ash, sulphur and gas, the impact away from the volcano was very much lower.

However, the Minister for Environment, Mahendra Reddy, said high amounts of pumice stones could block the sunlight from reaching the planktons and reduce oxygen levels in the water.

He said generally, the volcanic ash and pumice (volcanic rock dust) could have an impact on marine life and ecosystems, however, this does not mean that seafood caught in Fiji waters could not be consumed.

Mr Reddy added that the ministry was conducting tests to determine any impact on the marine ecosystems.

“Our ministry has been in touch with experts who have advised that if the pH of rainwater decreases slightly, then nature has its way to counteract it. pH is a measure of how acidic/basic water is.” Mr Reddy said.

“Our marine and terrestrial systems have a carbonate/bicarbonate equilibrium system that will resist any slight changes in rainwater pH, neutralising the acid and decreasing the impacts of acid rain on our environment.”


Tap water is safe

The Water Authority of Fiji has reassured its customers that water that comes through their taps is safe to drink.

Concerns have been raised with volcanic ash being present in the atmosphere, which could cause acid rain that would affect the pH levels of water.

The authority said these impacts of the volcanic eruption in Tonga did not affect the water received in taps.

“This water goes through rigorous processing at our Water Treatment Plants. The pH levels of water are carefully adjusted to ensure that any changes caused to the water is taken care of and the water is safe for human consumption,” the statement said.

“However, customers who have their water supplied through the rural and rainwater harvesting schemes are strongly advised to carefully cover their drinking water sources and store clean drinking water, safely.

“This is because such systems do not go through the water treatment processes offered by the Water Treatment Plants.”



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