Lying at the crossroads of the Pacific, Fiji’s reefs are recognized as a globally important area of biodiversity and make up four percent of the world’s total area of coral reefs. As well as attracting thousands of tourists, they protect the islands from hurricanes and provide an income for fishermen. Despite their often vast size, coral reefs are fragile and complex ecosystems that require care and respect from snorkellers and scuba-divers. It’s imperative you do not touch the reef, or try to stand or tread water close to coral heads. Even a brief contact is likely to destroy the delicate coral polyps which can take years to grow back. Brushing against the reef is also likely to result in cuts or grazes which can take weeks to heal.
Although they make tempting souvenirs, shells should not be removed from the reef as they play a vital role in providing homes for invertebrates. Avoid buying shells from the village markets, especially tritons, or trumpet shells, the only natural predators of the coral-destroying crown of thorns starfish.