18 May 2012

Rare coral found in Fiji could be tourist attraction

10:30 am on 18 May 2012

A rare blue coral found on one of the reefs off Tiliva Island in Fiji could become a tourist attraction for the areas that have it.

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

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 the coral could be of benefit to the locals.

"These are the only 4 places in Fiji that you can find this coral, and if it's so rare, then that place can be a dive site. In order to ascertain that it continues to be there into the future as well there might be some need to protect it. The locals, the local communities, they're interested in protecting it."