Great Barrier Reef: Volunteers dive in to cull major crown-of-thorns outbreak on southern tip

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Thousands of crown-of-thorns starfish found eating their way through the southern Great Barrier Reef only months ago are being targeted in a major culling exercise over the next week.

A group of 25 divers are spending nine days on Swains Reef, 250 kilometres off the coast of Gladstone, as part of a collaboration between government agencies, industry and the community to tackle the outbreak.

Project manager for the Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Control Program, Steve Moon, said the aim was to kill 1,000 crown-of-thorns starfish per diver per day.

“In recent months, occupational crown-of-thorns starfish divers have culled as many as 30,000 crown-of-thorns starfish in a single voyage,” he said.

“The reported outbreak at the Swains still requires further investigation and the actual cull numbers will be determined by the size of the aggregation, weather, visibility, depth and the experience of the diver.”

Source: abc