17 May 2012

Rare blue coral sighted in Fiji

1:40 pm on 17 May 2012

A rare blue coral, previously only sighted in three parts of Fiji, has been found on one of the reefs off Tiliva Island in Yasawa.

The latest blue coral sighting was on Viwa reef by the University of the South Pacific and the Ministry of iTaukei affairs.

Other coral species are colourful on the outside but have a white skeleton, whereas the blue coral appears grey or brown on the outside, and when cracked open is blue on the inside.

A senior scientific officer at the Institute of Applied Science at the USP, Ron Vave, says in his 12 years of diving in Fiji he had not seen the blue coral in Fiji waters until his trip to Viwa Island.

"These things are out there, people may have swum over it, they may have touched it but didn't break it and didn't know that it was a blue coral, the good thing about the awareness is that it brings this thing to light and more people get to know about it, when more people know about it then they can be able to make proper decisions with regards to its management."

Ron Vave says more underwater surveys need to be done around Viwa island to see if there are more blue corals.

The blue coral had previously been observed in Rotuma and in parts of the Mamanucas and the other areas of the Yasawas.