Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Poisonous Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Off Rizal Beach a Danger to Man and Reef

Guam News - Guam News

Guam- The Department of Agriculture has recently received a report of an outbreak of the dangerous Crown-of-Thorns Starfish in Agat.

Biologist Brent Tibbatts says his agency will be teaming up with the Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) and the Coastal Management Program to deal with this infestation. In fact, Tibbatts and his team will be taking a boat out to reef area off Rizal Beach tomorrow morning [Tuesday].

He says the Crown-of-Thorns is a natural part of the reef, but when the population explodes, it becomes more dangerous to living coral and humans. The sea creature can grow up to 21 arms and has poisonous spines to defend itself against predators.

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“They do feed on live coral and can be very damaging to the coral reef” said Tibbatts. “They also are venomous and they can be hazardous for people in the water as well. So we have to go and remove them gently, carefully and take them out of the water so they are not as much a threat to people or to the reef.”

Tibbatts adds he is expecting to remove at least a couple hundred crown-of-thorns starfish, which can be used for composting in the Department of Agriculture's organic farm.

To report any potential  outbreak of this poisonous starfish, please call the Aquatic & Wildlife Resources Division at (671) 734-3955 .

 

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