France moves to protect South Pacific coral reefs

24th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

NOUMEA, Jan 24 (AFP) - A team of researchers is meeting this week in New Caledonia to mark the launch a French initiative aimed at protecting the coral reefs of island states in the South Pacific.

NOUMEA, Jan 24 (AFP) - A team of researchers is meeting this week in New Caledonia to mark the launch a French initiative aimed at protecting the coral reefs of island states in the South Pacific.

The three-year project aims to support already-designated protected marine sites and to create new protected areas while better managing marine ecosystems to ensure the sustainable development of coral biodiversity.

Overfishing, poor management of coastal areas and sedimentation due to creeping urbanisation are often cited as the main threats to reef ecosystems, although those in the Pacific are less at threat than those in other regions.

"The reefs of the South Pacific and more especially of the Central Pacific are well protected because demographic pressure is a lot less than in Southeast Asia, where most reefs are found," said Bernard Salvat from France's Practical School of Higher Education.

The expert on reef systems said that low levels of pollution in the region further benefited the Pacific reefs.

Scientists say that reef systems across the world are in decline due to pressure from tourism, other human factors and possibly global warming.

The EUR 9 million (USD 12 million) programme is being financed by the French Development Agency.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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