Sea snails to rescue on the reef
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.