Removing Crown of Thorns Starfish from Raja Ampat's Reefs
Last Friday, 25 August 2023, the Meridian Adventure Dive team spotted and safely removed two Crown of Thorns ‘COT’ starfish from the coral reefs in Raja Ampat.
The Crown of Thorns is a predatory seastar species known for its destructive impact on coral reefs. These starfish have numerous sharp spines and feed on the living tissue of coral polyps. When their population becomes too large, they can cause significant damage to coral reefs.
The natural balance of coral reefs usually keeps the Crown of Thorns starfish population in check. However, certain factors can lead to population explosions of these starfish, such as increased nutrient runoff from land, overfishing of their natural predators, and disturbances to the coral reef ecosystem. When their numbers grow uncontrollably, they can consume large amounts of coral, leading to coral reef degradation.
Coral reefs are already under various threats, including climate change, pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction. The added pressure from these starfish outbreaks can exacerbate the decline of coral reefs, reducing their ability to recover and leaving them more vulnerable to other stressors.
Efforts to manage the impact of Crown of Thorns starfish outbreaks include manual removal of the starfish from reefs. A vinegar one to ten freshwater ratio is prepared and poured into the unique Crown of Thorns guns. Always in buddy teams wearing reusable gloves. One buddy has the basket and tongs, while the other buddy has the COT gun strapped to the chest under the BCD.
Conservation and management of coral reefs involve addressing a complex set of factors to ensure the health and resilience of these critical marine ecosystems.
Situated in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Meridian Adventure Dive is a PADI 5 Star Resort and winner of the PADI Green Star award. Scuba divers enjoy our professional services that have become synonymous with both the PADI and Meridian Adventure names.