A group of scientists in Australia has announced this week an potentially effective way to eliminate the destructive starfish, crown of thorns, that are feasting on coral reefs in the Pacific ocean.
The crown of thorns is already prominent in the Pacific and Indian Ocean where they feed mainly on coral polyps. Outbreaks of the large and poisonous starfish are blamed for the massive destruction of corals.
The Great Barrier Reef is located in the northeastern coast of Australia and composed of thousands of reef formations. The report by Australian Institute of Marine Science showed that almost half of the coral reef is gone compared to its size 30 years ago.
Clearly, the first phase would be to remove the voracious eaters, starfish, and convince farming operations to reduce their chemical-laden runoffs that victimize coral, and in some cases even support the starfish growth.
James Cook University in Queensland announced their discovery of a bacteria culture that could help in preserving the Great Barrier Reef by killing the culprit, starfish. The protein mixture where the bacteria is cultured was discovered to be capable of destroying starfish within 24 hours.
According to researchers of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at the university, the next phase will deal with determining how safe the protein is when it comes to other marine life.
“In developing a biological control you have to be very careful to target only the species you are aiming at, and be certain that it can cause no harm to other species or to the wider environment. This compound looks very promising from that standpoint — though there is a lot of tank testing still to do before we would ever consider trialing it in the sea,” said Professor Morgan Pratchett of the ARC center.
However, this discovery alone is not enough to curb the massive outbreaks of starfish being seen today.
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A solution for Asian carp infestation
Crown Capital Management Jakarta Indonesia – Brought from the East to aid in managing aquatic plants in aquaculture industries, Asian carp has been unwittingly introduced to freshwater sources of the US. Today, they are seen as a big problem in the fishing industry for their big appetite and fast breeding, overshadowing other fish for space and food in lakes.
Asian carp presence has been recorded in around 18 states and is already established in the areas of Missouri and Illinois. The fish threatening to mess with the USD 7 billion sport and commercial fishing industry of the Great Lakes can grow up to 100 pounds and measure over 4 feet.
Some are saying that the easy solution for this is closing the canal systems and any other point of entry of asian carps. However, such a step will certainly cost billions, not only in construction but also in lost profit from boat traffic that uses the canal system.
Last resort options to prevent upsetting the marine biodiversity in the Great Lakes are harmful to other industries and would also worsen the road traffic, ergo an increase in carbon emissions.
The Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework of the government is set to allocate USD 51.5 billion to protect the Great Lakes from the asian carp infestation. This program apparently involves methods to kill or drive them away, from poison pellets to soundwave-shooting underwater guns.
A more permanent and beneficial solution seems to be to catch the asian carps and turn them into foodstuffs like what Schafer Fisheries in Illinois is doing. Schafer has been selling 10 million lbs of asian carp across the world, satisfying a demand for them in other parts of the world while helping their locality get rid of a major headache. Asian carps can be processed into food products like sausage, jerk, hotdogs and can also be included in fertilizers. Even if this one industry will not be enough to totally stop the proliferation of Asian carp, it can at least be a major step in finding a solution.