The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has established a suite of methods that use coastal invertebrate species as bioassay organisms to test industrial and domestic effluent as well as coastal waters for potential toxicity. Although these methods are used globally, the potential of such toxicity tests has not been adequately explored for South African coastal waters. This study serves to describe a simple, cost-effective and relatively quick testing procedure using the development of Haliotis midae larvae as a bioassay of coastal water quality. This test is based on the sensitivity of these larvae to low concentrations of zinc (Zn). Its performance in a field trial demonstrates not only that this test has the potential to identify coastal waters of poor quality, but also that such identification could be of value in attempts to restock natural abalone populations, which are under extreme pressure from legal and illegal exploitation. Further work in this line should focus on the refinement of the methodology for this and other local species and should aim to contribute to the development of suitable criteria for the management of coastal water quality in South Africa.
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - Oct 2002|