29 November 2005

Australia: Reef pest proving problematic for dive firms

Dive companies say they are destroying up to 150 crown of thorns starfish a day on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.

The Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators has been granted $600,000 to continue eradicating the coral predator.

The association's Col Mackenzie says the state's major tourism reefs should be free of the pest in 18 months.

"Very hard to work with because we've got to be careful we don't break the coral as well," he said.

"And if you've got the plate coral and it's fairly open, you can get in and get a large number.

"But most of the stuff we find is on the branching corals which are quick growing corals and it's still very difficult to deal with, [very] labour intensive very, very slow work."

Source: www.abc.net.au/news


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