FW: FIJI - Bleaching Alert

Sangeeta smangubhai at wwfpacific.org.fj
Fri Mar 2 18:11:20 EST 2001


I have recently been diving in Beqa Lagoon just south of the main island of 
Viti Levu, Fiji.  Over the last three weeks I have observed small numbers 
of corals (Pocillopora species) starting to bleach.  The bleaching (at the 
moment) is not at the levels reached last year with only 10-30% of 
individual colonies bleaching.  The places I regularly dive in Beqa have 
little to no live Acropora left, the result of last years event.

Over the weekend I was undertaking crown-of-thorns surveys in Kadavu, in 
vicinity of Ono Island.  We had severe bleaching on this part of the Great 
Astrolabe Reef last year, and this has resulted in high algal cover. 
 Individual colonies of Acropora on shallow reef areas are showing those 
bright iridescent colours often observed before bleaching.  I also observed 
3 anemones that were completely bleached and 1 partially bleached.

Talking to various dive operators, there are signs of low level bleaching 
occurring in different parts of Fiji.

For those who are interested, WWF is hoping to work with staff from 
University of South Pacific to undertake baseline surveys of the northern 
portion of the Great Astrolable Reef in April 2001.  As part of the surveys 
we will be collecting data on coral bleaching.  If the bleaching becomes 
more severe, we might try and get out and do some preliminary surveys/data 

I would appreciate any individuals contacting me who have been previously 
involved in coral reef work in this part of the reef.  We wish to make sure 
our surveys complement previous efforts, and we maximise the use of the 
limited resources we have.


Sangeeta Mangubhai
Regional Marine Coordinator
WWF - South Pacific Program
Private Mail Bag
GPO Suva

tel: 679 315 533
fax:  679 315 410
email:  smangubhai at wwfpacific.org.fj
website:  www.wwfpacific.org.fj

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