View of the northern portion of New Caledonia. The world's second largest barrier reef encircles the island. Image courtesy of NASA.
This image shows details of New Caledonia's main city, Noumea, which is built on a peninsula that juts into the lagoon on the southwest side of the island. The reefs here face problems from pollution and overfishing. The tourism industry is very important to the economy of Noumea, with extensive hotel development in the city and along the southeast coast of New Caledonia Island. The picture shows how urban development extends to the steep slopes of the coastal hills. Image courtesy of NASA.
The harbor at Noumea. Photo courtesy of the US Marine Corps/ Sgt. Douglas D. Simons.
In 2008, UNESCO added the Lagoons of New Caledonia to the World Heritage Site list. The Lagoons comprise six marine clusters that represent the main diversity of coral reefs and associated ecosystems in the French Pacific Ocean archipelago of New Caledonia and one of the three most extensive reef systems in the world. These Lagoons feature a remarkable diversity of coral and fish species and a continuum of habitats from mangroves to seagrasses with the world's most diverse concentration of reef structures. The Lagoons of New Caledonia display intact ecosystems, with healthy populations of large predators, and a great number and diversity of big fish. They provide habitat to a number of emblematic or threatened marine species such as turtles, whales, and dugongs whose population here is the third largest in the world. Photo courtesy of NASA.