What is the Largest Lagoon in the World?

The New Caledonia Lagoon is in the South Pacific. It is one of the largest lagoons in the world with a surface area of about 160,000 km². The New Caledonia lagoon is also called the Ile des Pins. New Caledonia comprises 80% of this lagoon’s surface area which makes it the largest enclosed body of water in the world by territory. The New Caledonia lagoon was formed 2-3 million years ago when this oceanic crust that separated from Australia and moved to its current position.

The World Heritage Site is located in the rear end of the northeast part of Grand Terre Island which is off shore from Noumea. The UNESCO site has many coral reefs. Coral reefs are vital ecosystems that protect about 25% of the world population from waves and storms. New Caledonia is home to twenty-eight percent of the world’s coral species, most of which are located in this lagoon. The site has 5 different types of benthos including mangroves, seagrasses, algae, and other flora. New Caledonia has three species of dolphins living in the area among six other species of sea life. There are many bird species including seagulls, pelicans, cormorants, boobies, shearwaters, gulls, terns, tropicbirds, frigate birds, and albatross.

Some of the species in the site include the dugong (Dugong dugon), New Caledonia bumpy seahorse (Hippocampus neocaledoniensis) , coral-eating shrimp (Acanthacaris caeca) , scale worm (Polychaeta), New Caledonia pink anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus), and the parrot fish. There are over hundreds of species in the lagoon including various kinds of reefs, seagrass beds, algae fields, mangroves, coral cays, sandbanks, and beaches.

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