It’s a sad fact we’re becoming more and more aware of, that human activity has a negative effect on the Ocean and the environment in general. One of the effects that we see clearly is when Crown of Thorns starfish start gathering in large numbers and destroying sections of coral reef.
The Crown of Thorns or COTS, is a regular inhabitant of tropical reefs, and it’s population would generally have be kept in check by the beautiful Triton Sea Snail (C. tritonis). As seen in this fantastic video. Sadly due to overfishing of the snail, usually for it’s attractive shell, one of the only predators of the COTS has significantly dropped in numbers, allowing the starfish population to grow, in some cases, to the point where there are so many they can easily decimate a coral reef.[responsive_youtube WB6F6BpfucI]
Having spotted a growing number at Monad Shoal, not far from the shark viewing areas, we decided to send out a team to try and stop their destruction. Dan, Anne, Sebas and DMTs Kat and Lisa managed to collect over 80 COTS in 1 dive, which were removed from the water and brought back to our composting system.
We will be monitoring the area over the coming months and doing what we can to continue protecting the reef.