Travel and Leisure — September 5, 2014 at 5:00 am

The World’s 7 Largest Coral Reefs

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176543022The ocean contains many beautiful coral reefs. In fact only two-percent of the ocean floor is covered with reefs; however, only a select few are larger than the average-sized reef.  Although large in size, the areas for exploration are small due to protection laws to keep the coral reefs free from human footprints and fins. When diving for a great catch, check out these largest reefs in the world.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The GBR is the largest reef in terms of length and area. The reef is 1,553 miles in length and 134,363 square miles in area size. Tour operators have limited areas to visit on the reef, making this a spectacular, but sometimes not so colorful, area due to humans touching or kicking the reef, which kills the coral.

Red Sea Coral Reef, Israel, Egypt and Djibouti
Located across several countries’ shorelines, this reef is 1,180 miles in length. Located between Africa and Asia, this is the most northern tropical ocean in the world. This reef is known for its vibrant flora and fauna along with some of the most untouched reefs in the world.

New Caledonia Barrier Reef, South Pacific
This reef is as South Pacific as it comes with its bright blue beauty. This is the second largest double-barrier reef and is 932 miles in length. Researchers have documented up to 1,000 species of fish and invertebrates.

MesoAmerican Barrier Reef, Atlantic Ocean
Stretching along Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize’s water, this reef is 585 miles in length. It is estimated that only 10 percent of its living species have been discovered. The scenic beauty on land makes this a prime tourism destination, making divers eager to discover the flourishing waters.

Florida Reef, Florida
The Florida reef stretches 200 miles across the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Many visitors access the reef near Key West and is estimated to be near 7,000 years old.

Andros Coral Reef, Bahamas
Located between Nassau and the Islands on Andros, this reef stretches 124 miles along the ocean floor. This ocean community homes 164 species of fish including the unique flying gurnard, rock lobster and sharp nose puffer fish. This reef has suffered less damage compared to the Andros and Great Barrier Reef.

Saya Del Malha, Indian Ocean
Claimed by Mauritius, this reef is honored with being the largest atoll in the world. The reef is 15,444 square miles and homes some of the ocean’s grandest species such as the blue whale who come to breed annually in these tropical waters. This reef is as bright as the rainbow.

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