News

Wright moves to pick out the thorn in the reef's crown

Ron Wright has a plan to save The Great Barrier Reef. Photo: John Gass / Daily News
Ron Wright has a plan to save The Great Barrier Reef. Photo: John Gass / Daily News John Gass

THE Great Barrier Reef may be a gem in Australia's crown and one of the world's natural wonders.

But in the light of a discovery by marine scientists that coral cover in the reef has halved in 27 years as a result of the combined effects of coral bleaching, damage caused by storms and crown-of-thorns starfish, a local man has decided to take up arms against the thorn in the crown.

Ron Wright of Bilinga is trying to raise awareness on this serious issue that threatens top destroy the reef.

He has contacted TV and ministers with a plan of attack that includes culling the destructive crown of thorns starfish.

"Like ticks on a cow, we need to pick them off the reef," he said.

"Getting the public involved by giving them $1 a head would not only address the problem, but create employment and environmental awareness."

The justice of the peace has spent the last 20 years travelling the world.

"I have just come back from visiting The Grand Canyon," he said.

"It's one of the wonders of the world, yet our wonder is half dead."

"Nothing is being done.

"It's shocking."

Mr Wright said he had contacted the TV program 60 Minutes to no avail.

"I blame politicians for not taking action sooner and not taking action now," he said.

"They blame fertilisers entering the sea in run-off from farms.

"While that may promote their growth, what they don't say is that the crown of thorns was already there before the fertilisers."

Queensland environment minister Andrew Powell said recently that the Newman government was committed to taking on the crown of thorns starfish, admitting it was one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Powell's comments followed an investigation into the future of the reef by scientists at Townsville's Australian Institute of Marine Science.

The investigation revealed half of the World Heritage-listed reef's coral had been wiped out in the last 27 years, with tropical cyclones accounting for 24 per cent of the damage and crown of thorn starfish responsible for 21 per cent of the damage.

Dr Hugh Sweatman from the institute said the crown of thorns starfish accounted for 42% of the damage to the reef, with cyclones being 48% and the remaining 10% due to bleaching.

He said divers had been employed through a combined Qld and federal government initiative to poison the starfish.

"These are mainly in tourism sites," he said.

"It's a very laborious task."

Dr Sweatman said the reef had the capacity to recover, but it "needed a break."

"The female crown of thorns produces around 50 million eggs a year," he said.

He said the concept of putting a bounty on the species as suggested by Mr Wright posed problems.

"Firstly, they are poisonous and can induce anaphylactic shock which can result in death," he said.

Dr Sweatman said if the public was let loose on the reef, their enthusiasm may do more harm than good.

Where money is involved, the process could be abused.

Dr Sweatman said the culling process could be turned into farming.

Topics:  reef starfish


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Beware market forces in solving affordable housing crisis

HOME BOY: Byron Shire Councillor Paul Spooner is pushing for more affordable and social housing.

Councillor warns market will not solve affordable housing crisis

Byron woman should be jailed for eight years: Prosecutors

Australian Sara Connor and her British boyfriend David Taylor  (AAP Image/Johannes Christo)

Prosecutors stopped well short of recommending the maximum 12 years

World champion surfer's shark repellent solution

Dual world champion surfer Tom Carroll is surfing Lennox Head this week to educate local wave-riders about potential shark repelling devices.

Surfboard device to benefit sharks and surfers

Local Partners

Novel with lots of heart

Be transported to another world with A Quiet Kind of Thunder

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

Director Danny Boyle proves sequels can be done well.

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

WATCH: Toowoomba opera hopeful's incredible voice

Kaitlyn Orange attends Opera Queensland auditions at Empire Theatres for Opera at Jimbour, Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Opera hopefuls vie for parts in performance at Jimbour House

MKR turns spiteful in suddendeath elimination

Alyse and Matt battled Josh and Amy in a spiteful elimination cook-off.

Bottom of the ladder faces off in spiteful sudden-death cook-off.

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

What $11.9m can get you on Coast's most exclusive street

29-31 Wyuna Drive Noosaville Qld 4566

This is what a cool $11.9m can get you

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!