Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
June 1997 Vol. 12, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

Starfish Eats Great Barrier Reef

from the June, 1997 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

While some beautiful reefs near Cousteau Fiji have been ravaged by the crown-of-thorns starfish, it has also been eating away at 40 percent of the Cairns section of the Great Barrier Reef, says Australian researcher Udo Engelhardt.

"The current outbreak follows the pattern of two previous outbreaks 15 and 30 years ago," he said. "The apparent synchrony of outbreaks on both the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs throughout the tropics suggest that a large-scale, natural phenomenon could be the trigger for the outbreaks."

The starfish feeds on hard coral, removing all living tissue. Most reefs can handle up to 30 of these starfish per 2.5 acres, but in the most recent outbreak, detected two years ago, some parts of the Great Barrier Reef had up to 1,200 starfish in the same space. It is unknown whether water pollution, overfishing of the starfish's natural predators, or any other human factor triggers the outbreaks.

Injecting the starfish with sodium bisulfate, an environmentally benign chemical, is one control measure, but Engelhardt said that "it would be impossible and a waste of time and money to attempt anything more than small-scale clearing in areas important to tourism."

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2022 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.