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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
24 July 2003
Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced further funding of $300,000 for control of Crown of Thorns starfish at major tourism sites on the Great Barrier Reef.
Dr Kemp said over the past year divers had eradicated more than 40,000 starfish at 131 sites across 44 reefs between Port Douglas and Townsville.
“This new funding, from the Howard Government’s Natural Heritage Trust is in addition to $700,000 committed over the past 18 months by the Commonwealth and will help preserve coral from attack around Queensland’s prime tourism destinations,” Dr Kemp said.
The Crown of Thorns is a very large starfish of up to 80 centimetres in diameter and is covered in long venomous spines. It preys on living coral and can eat up to its own bodyweight every day.
Under the control programme, starfish are removed from priority tourism areas by divers on the vessel Foundation One.
The Crown of Thorns Control programme is run by the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators through the Great Barrier Reef Research Foundation.
Dr Kemp said he hoped the Queensland Government would match the new injection of funds to help preserve the reef and the industries that rely on it.
For more information on the crown of thorns starfish visit www.gbrmpa.gov.au.