New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the South Pacific Ocean, is home to an incredible array of marine life, including more than 1,700 fish and 473 coral species. The waters of the territory’s exclusive economic zone span 1.2 million square kilometers (463,323 square miles), within which lies one of the world’s largest lagoons.
Pew’s Global Ocean Legacy team working with the New Caledonian government, the French Marine Protected Areas Agency, and other groups, is advocating for the full protection of an area at least 200,000 square kilometers (77,220 square miles), in which fishing and other extractive activities would be prohibited. This level of protection, recognized for fostering healthy marine ecosystems and maintaining fish populations—particularly highly mobile and migratory species, would preserve the waters of New Caledonia for generations to come.
The government issued a decree on April 24, 2014 authorizing development of a management plan for the park, which would be known as the New Caledonia Coral Sea Natural Park. The move advances the government’s earlier pledge to create a marine park spanning its exclusive economic zone, which is 1.2 million square kilometers—more than twice the size of mainland France.
The management plan will define areas and degrees of protection for the park. Pew is advocating for the designation of at least 200,000 square kilometers as fully protected, in which fishing and other extractive activities would be prohibited. This level of protection—recognized for fostering healthy marine ecosystems and maintaining fish populations, particularly highly mobile and migratory species—would preserve the waters of New Caledonia.