A new culling method has destroyed 250,000 crown of thorns starfish, one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef, in 21 months.
It’s a killer jab that’s injecting new life into the Great Barrier Reef.
With just a single injection, the crown of thorns starfish – one of the biggest threats to the world icon – dies from an allergic reaction in as little as 24 hours.
The new culling method has destroyed 250,000 of the coral-eating starfish in 21 months, a four-fold increase.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch revealed the success of the control measure, developed by James Cook University, in Cairns on Tuesday.
Mr Entsch says divers in the north Queensland city had been able to cull more than 1000 crown of thorns starfish on a 40-minute dive.
“This includes 27,000 in just eight days at Arlington reef and 9000 at Batt reef, as well as 14,000 at Spitfire reef near Cooktown,” Mr Entsch said.
Mr Hunt said the killer injection, and funding for a second control vessel, had greatly boosted the fight against the coral destroying starfish.
He said pollution and run-off entering the reef had led to an explosion in numbers of the pest, causing considerable damage to the reef.
“In recent decades crown of thorns starfish have been responsible for 42 per cent of coral loss on the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.
Researchers say a crown of thorns starfish outbreak can destroy 40 to 90 per cent of the corals on a reef, with the pest causing more damage to the icon than bleaching in the past 50 years.