Natural Coral Reef Geographical Locations
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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