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New Caledonia
Labrosse, P.; Fichez, R.; Farman, R.; Adams, T. (2000). New Caledonia, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. pp. 723-736
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 920 pp., more

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Document type: Review


Authors  Top 
  • Labrosse, P.
  • Fichez, R.
  • Farman, R.
  • Adams, T.

    New Caledonia lies on the edge of the tropics 1500 km east of Australia. Its total land covers 19,100 kmz, though its EEZ and territorial waters extend to over 1,450,(XX) kmz. The main island, Grande Terre, is surrounded by a barrier reef 1100 km in length enclosing a lagoon approximately 23,400 kmz in area and up to 50 m deep. The coral reefs around New Caledonia can be considered to be largely pristine because of low anthropogenic pressure resulting from low population density. However, urbanisation is the main factor affecting demand for land on the coastline and mangroves have suffered both deliberate destruction and the indirect effects of development. Generally, there is a growing acknowledgement of the economic and environmental value of most habitats, and protective regulations are now in place. New Caledonia has one of the lowest overall population densities in the South Pacific region, with 10.4 inhabitants per kmz. Traditionally, the people (first Melanesian, then European) depended mostly on agriculture for subsistence. Most people live on the coast, and more than 60% live in the Greater Noumea area. Subsistence fishing is traditionally important, but its practice has changed considerably with the advent of efficient equipment and gears, and professional fisheries also target high value species for export. Impacts on fishery stocks and habitats have not been extensively researched. More recent is the development of prawn aquaculture and industrial tuna long-lining. Seafood is the second export commodity , after nickel ore, but the economy generally is highly dependent on financial support from France. Coastal erosion has been apparent all around New Caledonia, more markedly on eastern shores and smaller islands. The phenomenon is too widespread however to be attributed to human activity alone, so that several natural or climatic effects are also seen. In the past few years, numerous regulations have been enacted to protect economically or ecologically important species such as rock lobsters, mullets, mangrove crabs, rock oysters, coral, aquarium fish, sea turtles, dugongsand trochus. These are usually based on size limits, closures or exclusion zones. Also regulated are fishing techniques, together with the conditions for operating commercial vessels. These, with development regulations, help to maintain the generally good environmental conditions and sustainable practices that exist in New Caledonia.

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