EXPLORE Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems with this slideshow, check the location map and get all the facts and information below.

Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems
Lagoons Of New Caledonia

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Location and Values: The Lagoons of New Caledonia are located in six separate components around the island of New Caledonia in the south-west Pacific Ocean. They serve to protect one of the three most extensive reef systems in the world. The lagoons, with their brilliant white coral sands and turquoise waters, are exceptionally beautiful, as are the underwater seascapes with their diversity of reef systems. The area supports an outstanding diversity of coral and fish species (perhaps surpassing that of the much larger Great Barrier Reef which lies 1,000 km to the west). It also features all the major reef types from fringing reefs to atolls extending over major oceanic gradients, as well as other important habitats such as mangroves and sea-grass beds. These habitats support healthy populations of large predators such as sharks, as well as threatened fish, turtles and marine mammals, including the world’s third largest population of dugongs.

Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2020) the conservation status of the Lagoons of New Caledonia is ‘good, with some concerns’. There was a major coral bleaching event (caused by elevated sea temperatures) in 2016, but this has not been repeated and the reefs have so far demonstrated resilience to climate change impacts. The greatest current threat to the site is from sedimentation of the lagoons as a result of erosion in the watersheds due to bush fires, overgrazing and mining. A proliferation of Crown-of-thorns starfish and the spread of coral diseases are potential threats to the ecology of the site, which might be exacerbated by climate change.

Google Earth
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description
Birdlife IBA

Slideshow description

The slideshow ‘tells the story’ of the Lagoons of New Caledonia with a portfolio of photos that illustrate the exceptional beauty of the site with its stunning palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear waters and spectacular underwater vistas. An enormous diversity of coral species and formations is shown, together with many of the colourful fish and other reef inhabitants, such as nudibranchs (sea slugs). Some ‘ocean giants’ (sharks, humpback whale and manta ray) are shown, together with some of the globally threatened species that find sanctuary here, such as turtles and dugongs.

The following Flickr photographers and other sources are acknowledged with thanks for their contributions to this slideshow: @Dee, Andy-Gocher, CurLy98, digital, Hugues-Lemonnier, Jean-Marc-Celinan, Jeremy-Goutte, LeMeridien-Hotels, Nana-salala817, Nicholas-Fantini, Richard-Chesher and Tobias.


Website Category:
Marine & Coastal;
Area: 15,743 km2

Inscribed: 2008

UNESCO Criteria:

  • Outstanding natural beauty (vii);
  • Ecological processes (ix);
  • Natural habitat for biodiversity (x);
  • Significant number of rare, endemic and/or endangered species (x)

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