11 Mar 2010

New Caledonia seeks Australian help for reef protection

1:47 pm on 11 March 2010

New Caledonia has enlisted Australia's help to protect its massive coral reef, the world's second biggest.

Senior officials say the French Pacific territory hopes to tap Australian research and expertise to maintain the reef, which rings its main island and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Accompanying New Caledonian leaders to Canberra, the French High Commissioner in Noumea, Yves Dassonville, said Australia has long-standing experience in the management of the coral reef.

He told reporters they would would like to seize the opportunity and exchange scientific information on research projects with Australia.

Mr Dassonville also says New Caledonia hopes to set up a joint management of the Australian and French economic zones.