Rena Environmental Monitoring
Environmental monitoring began soon after the grounding of the
cargo vessel Rena on Otaiti (Astrolabe Reef) which occurred on 5
October 2011. Baseline sampling was initially
undertaken as follows:
- Water, sediment, shellfish, fish and algae were collected with
habitat characterisation (photo and video) in a number of areas
including Mōtītī Island, Karewa Island, Okaparu Reef and Motunau
Island. This sampling was coordinated by a team from the
University of Waikato and the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic
- Sampling of water, sediment and shellfish was also coordinated
by Tauranga City Council and Maritime New Zealand at a number of
beach, estuarine and offshore island sites.
The samples have been analysed for a range of contaminants
expected to be present in heavy fuel oil. The results provided
a baseline against which future samples could be compared to assess
the impacts of the incident.
This sampling provided the basis for a longer-term monitoring
and research program which has been developed with input from
key parties including iwi, MAF, DOC, Toi Te Ora Public Health
Service and District Councils.
What is in the oil?
Oil from the Rena grounding contains polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbon compounds (PAH's), which are known to be harmful to
humans and wildlife. High levels of these compounds in shellfish
and other marine life may render them unsuitable for consumption.
Information on the composition of the oil is important when making
decisions about which contaminants to monitor for.
This page will be updated with monitoring information received
by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Some interpretation will be
provided but a full analysis of the data will not be undertaken
until the response efforts conclude. For information on
whether it is safe to consume seafood please refer to the Toi Te
Ora Public Health website.
For further information please contact Rob Donald,
Science Manager, Bay of Plenty Regional Council (firstname.lastname@example.org)