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EditPhoto Title:New Caledonia: Home of the World’s Largest Marine Park
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EditImage Description:A fisherman paddles their boat
EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Lily Clarke
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The Natural Park of the Coral Sea protects 1.3 million square kilometers (501,930 square miles) of marine ecosystems essential to the southwest Pacific islands’ people, biodiversity and climate resilience.


A French territory located 1,210 kilometers (750 miles) east of Australia, New Caledonia hosts abundant biodiversity — healthy coral reefs and populations of fish, 25 species of marine mammals, 48 shark species, 19 species of nesting birds and 5 species of marine turtles.

New Caledonia also boasts the world’s largest lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site established in 2008, recognized as one of the three most extensive reef systems in the world. Renowned for its exceptional natural beauty, the lagoon features a great number of key habitats such as mangroves, seagrass beds and a high variety of reef structures from shoreline to the sea. The lagoon is also famously home to the world’s third largest population of dugong and a number of emblematic and threatened marine species including turtles, whales and seabirds. New Caledonia’s 250,000​ people depend on the health of these ecosystems for their fresh water, food and livelihoods — especially since the territory’s main source of income, nickel mining, will run out one day and improved management of its marine resources could provide alternative economic sources, such as sustainable fishing and tourism.



Our role

Conservation International has had a presence in New Caledonia for more than 12 years, working at all levels to develop and implement integrated, sustainable solutions on land and at sea that seek to benefit the natural environment as well as the people and economy of New Caledonia.

Given the complex mix of marine environments and fragile, interdependent ecosystems, CI engages in an integrated approach to informed and sustainable decision-making and marine management. Through our research and ongoing collaborations with communities, local and provincial organizations, government and other stakeholders in the Pacific region, we are gathering information on the perspectives and various priorities for consideration in the park’s marine management plan. CI experts in New Caledonia and the region will help the government shape the park’s spatial planning and management plan, fund key scientific research to inform that plan and integrate New Caledonia’s contributions within the Pacific Oceanscape and Big Ocean Network.

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Edit Item Title:Local engagement, large-scale results
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Edit Item Text:CI is working with communities and local government to protect key sites and create protected areas and networks. We aim to develop a community-based management model that incorporates local rules and uses, supported by science and modern management tools. The plan will integrate economic, educational and cultural components to ensure that all needs are represented. Working with partners, we’re building the capacity of the local management committee and ensuring consistent integrated management of the various marine clusters of New Caledonia marine World Heritage Site. On Loyalty Island, we're working with local communities to integrate traditional and contemporary approaches that support the sustainable management of marine resources in priority areas.
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Edit Item Title:Ridge to reef approach
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Edit Item Text:In the Northern Province, CI is facilitating the establishment of larger integrated protected areas, many of which span from land to sea. By ensuring healthy terrestrial and marine ecosystems, we can avoid many harmful downstream effects to the ocean from upstream actions — such as increased sedimentation caused by rapid deforestation. Under this terrestrial-marine “ridge to reef” approach, CI aims to conserve the ecosystem using a holistic approach. In Mount Panie, for example, we are working upstream to conserve the forest and reduce sediment flows downstream and into the lagoon. The lagoon is critically important to local people because of its artisanal fishing, natural products, ecotourism opportunities and coastal protection role.
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Edit Item Title:World Heritage Site management
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Edit Item Text:In Loyalty Island Province, CI is working with provincial and customary authorities, resource owners and users, helping to identify effective management strategies for Ouvea as a World Heritage Site using a community-based approach. We are helping the province in the design and set up of Ouvea’s governance structure that includes chiefs, tribal representatives and other stakeholders to ensure proper planning and implementation of the management plan over time. CI is also part of the management committee of the Entrecasteaux Atoll World Heritage Site cluster, recognized in 2013 as a 2,000-square-kilometer no-take zone and a fully protected marine reserve. To help support interprovincial coordination and consistent management, CI is represented on the board of the New Caledonia Natural Areas Conservatory.
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EditImage Alt Text:Coral in New Caledonia
EditTitle:By the numbers
EditSubtitle:1.3 million square kilometers
EditText:CI will continue to support New Caledonia in the management of its multiple-use marine protected area, which covers 1.3 million square kilometers (501,930 square miles) of essential ecosystems.
EditPhoto Credit:© Photo Rodolphe Holler
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    More of Our Work Links

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    First Image

    EditTitle:Pacific Oceanscape
    EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_63002536.jpg
    EditLink:/where/Pages/pacific-oceanscape.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Aerial view, Bora Bora. © Rodolphe Holler

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    EditTitle:Partnering with Communities
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    EditLink:/how/pages/partnering-with-communities.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Women sell traditional crafts, Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area in the Konashen Indigenous District, Southern Guyana. © Piotr Naskrecki

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    EditTitle:The Ocean
    EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_16084886.jpg
    EditLink:/what/Pages/oceans.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Coral reef in Viti Levu, Fiji, Oceania. © William Crosse