Environment Southland carries out a monthly monitoring programme along the Southland coast looking at faecal bacteria levels in water at eight known shellfish gathering sites.
Environment Southland's shellfish monitoring sites
Why we monitor water quality at shellfish gathering sites
Exposure to disease-causing micro-organisms (i.e. bacteria, viruses and protozoa) is a major human health risk associated with swimming and eating filter-feeding shellfish such as cockles and mussels.
Environment Southland monitors faecal 'indicator' bacteria at recreational shellfish gathering areas throughout the year. A high concentration of the 'indicator' bacteria means disease-causing micro-organisms are more likely to be present and there is a potentially higher health risk.
We send the monitoring results directly to the health authorities who assess the potential health risks. The results are also posted on our online mapping service, Beacon.
The results are also displayed on information boards throughout the region.
What can you do to reduce your risks?
Swimmers and shellfish gatherers can reduce their risk of illness by avoiding:
- stormwater outlets.
- streams and areas with possible runoff from intensive agriculture.
- swimming and shellfish collection during heavy rainfall and for up to five days afterwards.