New Caledonia’s Lagoon: Better Understanding for Better Protection

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New Caledonia boasts the largest lagoon in the world, surrounded by a 1,600 km coral reef (second largest in the world), which stretches over approximately 24,000 square kilometres and is home to rich variety of endemic tropical fauna. the coral reefs around New Caledonia support an unusual diversity of species, including large numbers of predators and big fish, turtles, and the world’s third-largest dugong population. Photo source: ©© Eustaquio Santinamo

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New Caledonia possesses the second largest coral reef lagoon on Earth and harbours an exceptional biodiversity. The island is also the world’s third most important nickel producer.

Ore extraction over the 20th Century has in places tripled the input of sediments and accompanying pollutants, such as metals, in the marine environment. This observation was the impulse for a wide-ranging multidisciplinary research project, run from 2000 to 2008, aiming to determine the impact of this process on the lagoon ecosystem…

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