The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

Minister for the Environment

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

Minister for the Environment

The Hon Warren Entsch MP

Federal Member for Leichhardt

Additional funding to manage crown-of-thorns starfish

Joint media release
6 December 2013

The Government is allocating an extra $1.1 million in funding to further protect the Great Barrier Reef from the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish.

The crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) can destroy coral faster than it can regenerate and is one of the most significant threats to the reef.

In recent decades COTS were responsible for 42% of coral loss.

Although COTS are normally found in reef environments, pollution and run-off entering the reef has lead to an explosion in numbers causing considerable damage to the reef.

"This new funding will support the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators with an additional dedicated boat and crew to continue culling efforts into the new spawning season," Minister Hunt said.

"The Government is committed to taking strong action to preserve and protect the health of the World Heritage listed reef."

"Today's funding announcement complements the Australian Government's election commitment to a $2 million Reef 2050 Plan for crown-of-thorns control and supports the existing $5 million commitment to manage starfish and fund research to improve their management."

An Australian Government funded culling program is currently underway using a single injection method that is harmless to other marine life. This new method will greatly increase how quickly COTS can be brought under control on high value reefs.

With this more efficient control method the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators estimate they will be able to cull at least another 80,000 COTS from the reef.

Mr Entsch praised the culling efforts of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and welcomed the new funding.

"Since control efforts began in June 2012, 180,000 starfish have been culled from Queensland waters," Mr Entsch said.

"New funding for the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators will enable them to use an extra boat to double their efforts in culling starfish."

The Australian Government's Reef 2050 Plan will ensure water quality entering the reef is improved each year. Farmers will be supported to improve their practices to reduce nutrient, pesticide and sediment runoff.

The Reef 2050 Plan will provide practical and effective measures to help protect this magnificent Australian icon.

Greg Hunt

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