Fiji’s reefs show high coral health after recovering from a coral bleaching event.
Coral reefs have frequently been in the news over the past few years, usually for all the wrong reasons, in articles about dying corals across the globe. However, Fiji has had reason to celebrate, with recent scientific reports suggesting that the reefs here are remarkably resilient, and currently in the best condition recorded. (this millennium!)
Fiji is a large archipelago with a great variety of reef types, spread across the country. While not denying that reefs have their ups and downs, the Fiji branches of the Global Coral Reef Network (GCRMN) and Reef Check have just published the results of eight years of study, where reefs have been seen to recover from events such as Cyclones, Crown of Thorns Starfish and High-temperature Coral Bleaching, within five years.
Dive operators around the Fiji Islands have supported and carried out scientific reef surveys on their dive sites, which have shown reefs affected by coral bleaching in 2000 were back to normal amounts of coral cover by 2005, and even better than normal by 2007.
Many reefs are currently showing a spectacular array of hard corals, with more than 80% coral cover, and 40% Acropora branching and table corals, the most attractive to fish, marine animals, and divers. This suggests that corals in Fiji can survive quite catastrophic events as long as they do not occur too often, a nice cause for optimism for the South Pacific reefs.
Detailed reef health reports can be found at:Helen R Sykes
Director Marine Ecology Fiji