GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
In the period 2012 to 2015, the Australian Government has committed to investing more than $7 million in a targeted program for crown-of-thorns starfish removal. The program is managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in partnership with the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators. Following the identification of starfish hotspots through the joint Field Management Program, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators is responsible for starfish removal. Priority is given to sites of high value to Reef tourism and, where possible, conducting broader-scale control. The program also assists researchers, trains tourism staff in culling methods and collects data on reef health. Between August 2012 and December 2013, 8333 two-minute manta tows were completed along 1415 kilometres of reef, 2258 Reef Health and Impact Surveys were undertaken and over 190,000 crown-ofthorns starfish were culled (Figure 7.3). In parallel, the Queensland Government has invested $1 million to control crown-of-thorns starfish through the Skilling Queensland program. Work placement participants assist in small-scale control of crown-ofthorns starfish on selected coral reefs.
Diver using a one-shot injection gun to cull crown-of-thorns starfish
Figure 7.3 Removal of crown-of-thorns starfish, offshore Cairns, August 2012 to January 2014
Reefs where high numbers of starfish have been reported are targeted for repeat visits in the program. Effort is focused on one or more sites at each reef. The map shows the number of starfish removed from each reef. Source: Data provided by the Association of Marine
Park Tourism Operators 2014