Coral recruitment was assessed in highly diverse and economically important Spermonde Archipelago, a reef system subjected to land-based sources of siltation/pollution and destructive fishing, over a period of 2 years. Recruitment on settlement tiles reached up to 705 spat m(-2) yr(-1) and was strongest in the dry season (July-October), except off-shore, where larvae settled earlier. Pocilloporidae dominated near-shore, while a more diverse community of Acroporidae, Poritidae and others settled in the less polluted mid-shelf and off-shore reefs. Non-coral fouling community appeared to hardly influence initial coral settlement on the tiles, although, this does not necessarily infer low coral post-settlement mortality, which may be enhanced at the near- and off-shore reefs as indicated by increased abundances of potential space competitors on natural substrate. Blast fishing showed no local reduction in coral recruitment and live hard coral cover increased in oligotrophic reefs, indicating potential for coral recovery, if managed effectively.