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Marine Places

Shiraho Reef

Shiraho Reef, off Ishigaki Island, part of the Japanese archipelago, came to notice in the 1980s as an outstanding example of biodiversity, with some 120 species of coral and 300 fish species concentrated in a few square miles. The reef also contains the world’s largest colony of rare blue ridge coral (Heliopora coerulea). For decades, environmentalists have battled to save the reef from the building of a new airport for Ishigaki. A proposal to construct the airport on top of the reef was dropped, but concern remains over plans to build it on land, as soil runoff and sedimentation in the reef area is likely to have an adverse effect.

Shiraho Reefzoom image
  • Pacific Ocean West
  • Type Fringing reef
  • Area 4 square miles (10 square km)
  • Condition Reasonable; recovering from severe coral bleaching in 1998
  • Location Southeast coast of Ishigaki Island, at the southwestern extremity of Japanese archipelago
Shiraho Reef habitat mapzoom image