A major study is underway into the state of reefs in the Pacific region.
The Pacific Community's Reef Fisheries Observatory co-ordinator, Mary Power says communities rely heavily on marine resources for income and food but there's uncertainty as to how healthy reefs are.
SPC scientists have been looking at the impact of fishing on reefs in Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and are currently visiting Samoa.
Ms Power says their research is not just limited to under the water.
"We'll also have social scientists working on the land side, working in villages on the degree of dependence on marine resources, with both food and income in small fishing communities. The key being to link demographics with resource status in terms of population levels income levels and degree of westernisation."
Mary Power says scientists will visit 17 countries in the region to conduct the five year study, that's being funded by the European Union.