Natural Coral Reef Geographical Locations

Tonga Islands

Tonga is composed of three major island groups (Vava'u group, Ha'apai group and Tongatapu group) with a total of 171 islands. The islands are mainly elevated coral reefs but a few are volcanic islands. Tropical cyclones can cause considerable damage during the warm months (October to March). Coral reefs are widespread but surveys and research have been sporadic and limited. What little is known will be summarized for each group. Ofu Island in the Vava'u Group has an algal ridge and reef that support a thick growth of corals. Microatolls of Porites are found at the south end of the island. Diving here is dangerous but the reef is impressive. A reef system with a rich coral fauna links Fofoa Island with Hunga, Foelifuka and Foiatu islands. A channel between Lape and Langitan Islands is filled with rich coral growth. Ofolanga Island in the Ha'apai Group has a barrier reef that encloses a lagoon. O'ua Island has an extensive reef. There may be up to 100 species of stony coral inhabiting the waters of Tonga. There has been an increase in the number of stony corals exported from Tonga in recent years. We have begun to see some very exotic species of plating and massive stony corals. Additionally some avid stony coral collectors from the US have begun to visit Tonga and have helped the locals find exotic corals suitable for export to the US market.
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