If you’re planning to head down the shore for the upcoming Memorial Day long weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season, the quality of ocean water for swimming and fishing is great, according to state Department of Environmental Protection officials.

Jill Lipoti, the Director of the Division of Water Monitoring and Standards for the DEP, says a just-completed study by Rutgers University finds that organisms living on the bottom of the ocean are reproducing in large numbers.

“That just means that conditions are favorable for fish to live and thrive,” she said, “If you had hypoxic conditions, which are the kinds of conditions where there’s no oxygen, then fish are not going to live there.”

There’s also good news for swimmers.

“Last year our New Jersey beaches were open for bathing 99.84 percent of the time, which is spectacular” says Lipoti, “We only had 3 beach closings for bacteria in excess of the standard that occurred on the ocean beaches. Testing will be going on all-summer long, and we’ll be providing information to the beach goers about the water quality, in terms of is the water safe to swim in. And if it’s unsafe, we’ll close those beaches.”

At the same time she points out ongoing efforts.

“We’re also monitoring water quality to make sure shell fish areas, it’s safe to eat the shell fish. This monitoring is a multi-government effort involving the federal government, the state and counties along the coast…water quality has improved for a number of reasons, including better sewage treatment, and it involves a lot of cooperation from people, even to the point of things like litter pickups…also landfills have been a lot better about making sure that litter was properly covered.”