The surrounding waters of Vatu-i-Ra Island support a rich diversity of marine life.
The people of Nasau have seen dolphins and whales in the vicinity of the island, and divers have seen both hawksbill and green (Chelonia mydas) turtles.
The main habitats within the Conservation Park are fringing coral reefs, lagoons, reef flat, pinnacles and shallow and deep terraces.
A survey of the reef systems around Vatu-i-Ra by WCS in 2013 documented at least 121 species of fish, 47 genera of coral, and healthy coral communities with an average hard coral cover of 39.5% inside the old tabu area (closed since 2012), 16.5% in the extended tabu area (closed since 2015), and 9.8% in areas that have remained open to fishing.
These suggest that the 4 year tabu area has been effective in protecting and maintaining healthy coral communities.
The area also boasts a diversity of colourful soft corals and gorgonian sea fans.
At the time of surveys, the average fish biomass was 659.8 kg/ha in 2013, suggesting that there was some fishing pressure on the reefs.
Fish biomass greater than 500 kg/ha is needed for the ecosystem to function, and a biomass 1000 kg/ha indicates a fish community is very healthy 5 .
Surveys conducted in April−May 2016, post- Cyclone Winston, found coral cover had declined by 13.9% and fish biomass by 46.7%, particularly along the western reef edge.
Despite the damage from Cyclone Winston, the majority of sites important to the dive tourism industry located towards the north of the Conservation Park, sustained little damage
Areas popular with the dive industry like Black Magic Mountain, Mellow Yellow and Instant replay have coral cover range from 35−55% .
These healthy undamaged reefs will be critical in the recovery of cyclone-damaged reefs in the Conservation Park and wider Nakorotubu iqoliqoli area.