New weapon to fight coral-eating starfish

New weapon to fight coral-eating starfish

David Sigston | AAP | April 24 2017 at 8:11:40 am

Household vinegar may hold the key to protecting the Great Barrier Reef from the blight of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

Field trials by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and James Cook University have shown an injection of white vinegar causes the echinoderms to die and disintegrate.

Not only does the dying starfish pose no threat to other marine life, but fish have been filmed feeding on the "pickled" starfish.

"The relentless predator has been responsible for a large percentage of coral deaths over the past 50 years," GBRMPA's Dr Mary Bonin said.

Starfish can't regulate their internal pH levels, so the acetic acid contained in vinegar proves lethal to the, Dr Bonin said.

A single 20ml dose of vinegar injected at the base of a starfish is all this is needed, at a cost of just one cent per dose.

Image: Julie Pearce/ContentServices.Melbourne
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