Largest coral clump in Japan discovered in Nagura Bay

Largest coral clump in Japan discovered in Nagura Bay

The Pavona clavus coral colony in Nagura Bay, Ishigaki Island, was determined to be the largest in Japan (Photograph taken by surfing and diving instructor Tesuya Hamaoka in December 2013).

January 22, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Ministry of Environment Ishigaki Nature Conservation Office and the Yaeyama Diving Association announced on January 21 that a colony of Pavona clavus coral, which was discovered in Nagura Bay on the western region of Ishigaki Island, is the largest clump of coral ever discovered in Japan. The colony measured 24 meters in length, 17 meters in width, and ten meters in height.

In Okinawa Prefecture, coral colonies of several hundred meters in scale have been discovered near Kume Island and Iriomote Island, however the Yaeyama Diving Association Conservation Committee chairman Nobuo Saeki explained that; “there is no other P. clavus colony of this scale, much less one in a single clump. Among the coral colonies measured domestically, this is the largest.”

The colony is shaped like a mountain with the peak at a depth of two to three meters. Its deepest section is 13 meters below sea level and on a gentle incline, with a circumference of about 70 meters. It was discovered in 2010 by the Yaeyama Diving Association during a crown-of-thorns starfish extermination dive. It was measured from last July to December by professionals commissioned by the Ministry of Environment Yaeyama Conservation Office.

(English translation by T&CT and Lima Tokumori)

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