4 May 2020

Beveridge Reef, 'jewel in the crown of Niue's ocean resources'

6:36 am on 4 May 2020

The status of Beveridge Reef is a critical element of Niue's new Moana Mahu marine protected area.

Legislation setting up the 127,000 square kilometre zone, constituting 40 percent of Niue's exclusive economic zone, was passed last month.

Beveridge Reef is 120 nautical miles off Niue's east coast and Coral Pasisi, of Tofia Niue, calls it the "jewel in the crown of Niue's ocean resources."

Beveridge reef, 400km southeast of Niue.

Beveridge reef, 400km southeast of Niue. Photo: RCCNZ

Ms Pasisi said the reef, which has a special management status within the reserve, is a separate eco-system from Niue, but indications are its vital to the island's viability.

She said her NGO and others planning the reserve, see Beveridge Reef as a source of recruitment for Niue.

Ms Pasisi said basically the baby clams, key coral and fish species, given the prevailing wind, comes from that side, generate there and re-populate the island.

"So we wanted to do genetic testing there to make sure that it was this key resource bank for Niue," said Ms Pasisi.

She said the plan is for scientific surveys to continue, while sustainable domestic and tourism fishing will be encouraged, but they also see an opportunity for tourists to take part in the research.

Ms Pasisi said since it's an untouched reef it gave an opportunity to study the impacts of climate change, relative to more compromised coastline of Niue.