Okinawa to take measures against crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks with an Australian research institute

Okinawa to take measures against crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks with an Australian research institute

At the prefectural Government office building on March 5, Hidefumi Toma (left) and Jamie Oliver signed a partnership agreement on the crown-of-thorns starfish research.  


March 6, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Prefectural Government and Australian Marine Science Research Institute held a partnership signing ceremony at the prefectural office building on March 5. They agreed to deal with crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks, which are a common problem in both regions. The starfish eat coral reefs and damage ecosystems. For the 2014 fiscal year, the government has developed a project to deal with the problems. It promotes information exchange with the Australian counterpart, which includes hosting Australian researchers and sending Okinawan researchers to Australia. Through joint research and surveying, the project seeks to find out the cause of the outbreaks and an effective way to exterminate it.

Government official Hidefumi Toma and institute research director Jamie Oliver signed an agreement. Research leader Britta Schaffelke also attended the ceremony.

Toma said, “We used to focus on discussing extermination measures against the outbreak. However, we plan to more actively discuss about promoting research on the starfish.” Oliver reported on the damage to coral reef by starfish in the world’s largest coral reef Great Barrier Reef. He said the institute hoped to cooperate productively to protect Okinawa’s important coral reefs.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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