Science and management of coastal lakes and lagoons



Publication Details

Morrison, R. J. (2006). Science and management of coastal lakes and lagoons. In R. J. Morrison & B. Aalbersberg (Eds.), At the Crossroads: Science and Management of the Suva Lagoon (pp. 3-14). Suva, Fiji: Institute of Applied Sciences, University of the South Pacific.


Urbanised coastal lagoons represent one of the most threatened global environments. These water bodies, surrounded by large populations, are subjected to human impacts from poor waste management, industrial discharges, stormwater runoff and shipping activities. In some cases these lagoons are approaching ecological collapse. The ecological behaviour of these water bodies is difficult to determine as they are constantly undergoing change due to the effects of tides and river inputs. The management of coastal lagoons is complicated by the multi-jurisdictional nature of the legislation frequently applying to them. This paper briefly reviews the ecological background to coastal water bodies and the potential impacts of humans on them. An assessment of the current approaches to management of coastal lagoons is presented, followed by consideration of several case studies where specific issues are highlighted. This section is followed by comments on how the improved management of Suva Lagoon might be undertaken. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that the planning and management are integrated and multi-dimensional in nature, accommodating the technical, social and economic components of such a complex undertaking.

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