STATES CHRONICLE – In case there weren’t enough threats for coral reefs, a biological enemy has just started munching corals and destroying the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. There has been a sudden outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish which, since last year, have been trying to pass through corals by eating them.
Starfish are munching corals
The scientists at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority take care of the creatures and keep an eye on all the threats that arise. During the monitoring, they noticed how more crown-of-thorns starfish started gathering near the corals, eating them. A special crew went to cull the ravishing creatures, but there are plenty who remained there.
The authorities didn’t offer an exact number of the starfish, but assured people the populations became as big as they used to be some time ago. Also, removing them from the corals is a tough job. The starfish is covered in sharp thorns which carry a poisonous substance, becoming a potential threat for the crew.
The authorities are intervening, but the process is slow and difficult
The starfish outbreak started last year, but the efforts haven’t been too successful. The creatures have chosen a remote area of the reef to attack, so interventions are difficult to undertake. This spot is situated 100 kilometers off the coast, so they faced logistical problems. Also, the environment is not the friendliest, and the crew constantly had to face danger.
At the moment, the authorities are undertaking an operation to control the population of crown-of-thorns starfish. However, this area of the reef is not their priority, so it’s not clear when the crew will continue with their interventions. What is important is the fact that they know what to expect. This new strain adds up to the already big threat of global warming, which had already bleached a high surface of corals.
Image Source: NOAA Photo Library