31 Oct 2012

Columbia University study suggests Fiji manage coral reefs separately

10:04 am on 31 October 2012

A United States university study has found coral reefs in the east of Fiji should be managed separately from those in the west.

The research looked at five species of fish in Fiji and found three species didn't move much between reefs, but two species did.

There are currently marine protected areas in the islands but no coral reef reserves.

Dr Joshua Drew from Columbia University's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology says managing the reefs separately would keep fish populations up if disaster strikes.

"If there is a localised oil spill on the west side, babies born on the east side aren't going to be able to get there. So what we're trying to say is that you want to make sure you have enough preserves in the east and in the west (so) that if one reef gets wiped out by an oil spill there are enough healthy reefs in that section to make sure that the babies will land on the place that needs to be reseeded."

Dr Joshua Drew says he hopes the Fiji government will use the research to form their coral reef reserve policy.