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Fri, 2022-08-26 10:07
Crown-of-thorns starfish

The Crown-of-thorns Starfish (COTS) Control Program has been named a finalist in the country’s most prestigious science awards, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

The nomination recognises the outstanding contribution of those who’ve worked to control the coral-eating predator on the Great Barrier Reef under the Australian Government’s National Environmental 
Science Program.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Reef Authority) has led the implementation of COTS 
control on the Great Barrier Reef since the beginning of the current outbreak in 2010.

Reef Authority Director of Reef Interventions, Dr Roger Beeden, said it’s an honour to be representing 
the researchers, tourism industry and community partners who’ve worked in partnership to deliver such 
great outcomes.

“The Australian Government funded COTS Control Program is a collective work of the Reef Authority, 
the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and the CSIRO to apply 
integrated pest management principles to protect the coral foundations of the Reef,” Dr Beeden said.

“The Reef Authority has deployed COTS culling teams and worked directly with government agencies, 
tourism operators, researchers, community members and traditional owners to understand and respond 
to COTS outbreaks through the marine park over the past decade.”

Reef Authority CEO, Josh Thomas, said the Eureka Prize nomination is wonderful recognition of the 
tireless efforts of the largest coral protection program on the Reef.

“Crown-of-thorns starfish control is widely recognised as an essential, targetable, cost-effective tool to 
protect coral habitat resilience and adaptation as the climate changes,” Mr. Thomas said.

“It complements the broad suite of existing Reef management actions deployed by the Reef Authority 
across the World Heritage area.

“Protecting key coral reefs and tourism sites by expanding the Crown-of-thorns Starfish Control 
Program not only benefits the Great Barrier Reef as a whole, but also helps to secure the jobs of the 
many whose day-to-day livelihoods rely on a healthy and resilient Reef.”

Over the past decade, the COTS Control Program partners have protected more than 330 coral reefs —
some 700,000 hectares — from the devastating impacts of the coral-eating starfish. 

To date, more than 1.1 million COTS have been culled, stopping billions of potential offspring infiltrating 
the Reef. 

Winners announced at the Eureka Prizes ceremony broadcast online from Sydney - 7:15-9:00 p.m. on 
Wednesday 31 August 2022.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Media team | (07) 4750 0846 |

Updated 13 Sep 2022
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