An environmental group says there's big support for a "no take" zone in at least a third of New Caledonia's waters.
The territory's waters have been given nominal protection under the Coral Sea Natural Park which was established in 2014 and experts are putting together a management plan for the 1.3 million sq km zone.
The Pew Charitable Trusts' project manager in New Caledonia Aline Schaffar said 5000 people had signed a statement in support of a fully protected area immediately.
Ms Schaffar said the Coral Sea Natural Park was merely a "paper park" so far.
"When it was created people were talking of an empty shell because there was no new protection implemented for this area. Three years later we are still at the same stage with no vision on concrete action for the area."