Coral Reef Spotlight: Fiji
Fiji– home to big waves, manta rays, boat hopping, and some of the best diving sites in the world. This tropical island paradise has been recognized multiple times on the big screen, including on Castaway, Blue Lagoon, and the hit TV show, Survivor. However, just beyond the stunning palm tree lined beaches resides the soft coral capital of the world.
Fiji’s coral reefs are made up of over 390 species and support over 1500 species of fish, with over 3,869 square miles of bliss, it is the largest coral reef system in the South Pacific . The reefs are abundant in color, variety, and endemic species, which is why Fiji often lands in the top 5 places to dive in the world.
One must-see spot for amazing coral gardens is the Namena Marine Protected Reserve, Savusavu. As it is a protected site, Namena offers Fiji’s reef in all its natural glory. Both soft and hard corals make themselves home here, and can be seen in brilliant yellow, purple, and white. Pygmy seahorses and sharks are also a commonplace and make for a one-of-a-kind dive experience.
While once a thriving ecosystem, the health of the coral reef in Fiji is on an exponential decline. The ICRI whitepaper reports that there is only 45% live coral cover. In 2018, the Fijian Prime Minister stated that, “we are losing the battle to save coral reefs”, which is a notion long acknowledged by reef scientists. It has also been noted by the head of the UN Environmental Programme that we are at the “make or break” point of saving Coral Reefs in Fiji.
However, despite the doom and gloom surrounding coral extinction, many great organizations are working hard to save the beautiful habitats of Fiji. The Coral Reef Alliance, Living Oceans Foundation, Counting Coral, and Mission Blue are just some of the organizations looking to help the reef in Fiji and all those who benefit from it. So next time you find yourself gazing down at a sea fan, admiring a reef shark, or swimming with manta rays, be sure to donate to your favorite nonprofit organization to help save the reef.