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The Lagoons of New Caledonia by Severine Guilland
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The Lagoons of New Caledonia are located in the French Pacific Ocean Archipelago. They are one of the “three most extensive reef systems” in the Pacific Ocean. They represent approximately 1.5 million hectares in the ocean. The Lagoons of New Caledonia contain ancient fossil reefs, which permitted to scientists to know more about the natural history of Oceania. In 2008, the Lagoons were classified as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO according to three criteria:
Moreover, there are 146 different types of reefs. (UNESCO, 2013)
The Lagoons of New Caledonia are confronted to diverse managerial challenges. The main problems are linked with mining, fishing and aquaculture, tourism, and climate change. Measures have been settled, especially in fisheries legislation and water quality. Agreements are trying to be reached with the native people of New Caledonia (the Kanak communities). Some management plans are under development between the different actors. The goal is to preserve the area and maintain the coral reefs intact. Stakeholders want to give priority to “no-take zones” where any activity (fishing and mining) will be forbidden. Some measures are complex to establish because stakeholders have limited capacity and resources (mainly financial and technical). (UNESCO, 2013)
Another managerial challenge concerns the growing number of tourists, which can damage the natural environment. Therefore, long-term strategies and resources are needed to ensure the preservation of the lagoons. Challenges about mining activity and potential pollution related to nickel have to be taken into consideration. (UNESCO, 2013)
National Geographic. n.d. No-take zone. [online] Available at: http://education.nationalgeographic....e-zone/?ar_a=1 [Accessed: 9 Nov 2013].
UNESCO. 2011. Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (2011). [online] Available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/soc/326 [Accessed: 9 Nov 2013].
UNESCO. 2013. Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems. [online] Available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1115 [Accessed: 9 Nov 2013].
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