In 2008, UNESCO listed New Caledonia Barrier Reef on the World Heritage List under the name The Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems. The Lagoons were listed under three UNESCO categories:
- Superlative natural Phenomena or natural beauty
- Ongoing Biological and ecological processes
- Biological Diversity and threatened species.
There are six marine clusters at the site which are protected by marine and terrestrial buffer zones that are not part of the World Heritage Site.
The lagoons are protected by fisheries legislation, which is being further improved, and co-management arrangements with the Kanak communities are currently being established for all sites. Management plans are being prepared with full stakeholder involvement.