Be a star to the reefs! Just don’t be a star-fish. Specifically, a Crown of Thorns Starfish. This is one reef species that has had a bit too much reproductive success of late. This scourge was highlighted to us during our recent tour when the marine biologist at Zitahli Kudafunafaru noted a number of Noonu reefs that had been decimated by these coral-carnivores.
The main cause of the outbreak appears to be a decline in their natural predators, especially the trumpet triton and helmet snail, which have attractive shells that are collected and sold.
So a number of resorts a moving into action to reduce their numbers. Lily Beach’s ProDivers held a COTS collection which gathered 92! Their spiny “thorns” a venomous so people can’t and should not touch these creatures if they happen on them. But Anantara Dhigu and Veli are giving guests a chance to get involved with this eco-battle….
“Anantara Dhigu and Anantara Veli Resorts…will be hosting a team of marine biologists from The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) 26 October to 1 November 2015. Led by Chief Scientist Dr Andrew Bruckner, the team of four researchers will be conducting a Starfish Control and Removal program, known as SCAR. The program consists of three main components, the removal of coral reef predator Crown of Thorns Starfish (COTS), quantitative reef surveys, and data analysis…Offering a chance for a diving holiday with a difference, guest divers will gain an understanding of some of the different species on the reef, the relationships between corals, fish and other organisms, how these maintain healthy reef systems and what happens when something goes out of balance. Removal of COTS directly saves and protects the reefs and with each dive, guests can learn about one of the very few predators of coral, and one of the most interesting reef inhabitants. Through engagement with the researchers, divers will witness firsthand one of the most severe threats affecting our reefs today.”
The vicious and life-threatening battle with armies of armoured creatures comes to the Maldives in their very own epic “Game of Thorns”.