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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:

    • Area of exceptional natural beauty: the coral reefs are counted amongst the most beautiful coral reefs in the world thanks to its diversity, beauty and uniqueness. In some parts, the corals form arches and caves.
    • Coastal and marine ecosystems: the Lagoons of New Caledonia are the most ancient ecosystem.
    • Natural habitats and conservation of biological diversity: diverse species of fishes, mangroves, seagrasses. This is the perfect habitat for turtles, whales, and other mammal animals such as the dugongs (the third largest population in the world).

    Moreover, there are 146 different types of reefs. (UNESCO, 2013)

     

    Managerial challenges

    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)

     

     

    References

    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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    Comments (2)

    Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all
    Thank you for your presentation in the class by showing such a successful example of the cooperation and the management goodwill in order to preserve an important World Heritage for the generations to come.
    I was thinking about the stakeholders in the case of the Lagoons of New Caledonia. I guess it is a very sensitive issue to protect the nature when local communities are dependent on it for their survival. How this process being organized so far, is it a democratic process where the local and indigenous communities are really able to make sure that their voice is heard? Do you know anything about it? How big is a tourism industry there? Is it sustainable?
    Best regards,
    Albina
    Posted 15:53, 12 Nov 2013
    The subject of coral reefs is very close to me, as I worked for a tour operator for over a year in Egypt, where there are magnificent coral reefs and a very diverse see world. I think it is very important to meet the challenges of preserving this natural treasure by creating certain rules for tourism and human activity. I believe that it will be very beneficial to introduce policies, forbiding fishing in some places. It is also important not to build hotels in close proximity to the natural habitat of sea animals and coral reefs. If it is a heritage site, it means that tour opertors perform their activities in that area, so there should also be clear guidance for them on what is allowed and what is not. Anyway, it is good to know that France has such rich sea world. It is a new fact for me personally.
    Posted 22:51, 12 Nov 2013
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