Sea snails could come to Reef res­cue

The Advertiser - - NEWS -

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

The crown-of-thorns starfish is one of the lead­ing causes of coral loss on the Reef. Now, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is fund­ing world-first re­search into breed­ing rare gi­ant tri­ton sea snails, which eat the starfish. The sea snails, which can grow to half a me­tre, were al­most hunted to ex­tinc­tion for their shells, and while they’ve been a pro­tected species in Queens­land since the 1960s, they still re­main rare.

The Gov­ern­ment is spend­ing $568,000 on the ini­tial re­search and trial over the next two years. En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg said if the re­search is suc­cess­ful, tri­ton snails could be used to dis­perse the starfish and pre­vent them from breed­ing.

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