Oceanic Shoals covers 31 362 square kilometres, with the depth ranging from 15-500 metres. It is an important foraging area for marine turtles (loggerhead and olive ridley).

Depending on clarity of the seawater, Tthe shallowest points of the shoal plateaus can support organisms that rely on light, such as algae and reef-building corals. Shoals in the clearest offshore regions may support plants and corals as a dominant component of the biota down to depths of 50-60m, beyond which other organisms not dependent on photosynthesis become more important. Scientists expect that many of the species seen on the regions’ coral reefs may be present on shallow shoals.

Deeper shoals, the steep edges of shoals and deeper ridges and pinnacles support quite different organisms, but sponges and soft corals could be key elements.