Sea snails to res­cue on the reef

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT -

A GI­ANT starfish-eat­ing sea snail could be un­leashed to save the Great Bar­rier Reef.

The crown-of-thorns starfish is one of the lead­ing causes of co­ral loss on the Reef, and up to 150,000 of the pests can spread over just one square kilo­me­tre dur­ing an out­break.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is fund­ing world-first re­search into breed­ing rare gi­ant tri­ton sea snails, which eat the starfish.

The snails, which can grow to half a me­tre, were al­most hunted to ex­tinc­tion for their shells and are still re­main rare.

The Gov­ern­ment is spend­ing $568,000 on the ini­tial re­search and trial over the next two years, with more than 100,000 swim­ming snail lar­vae al­ready hatched.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg said starfish ap­pear to “flee” from the preda­tor and cease breed­ing.

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