A new decision-making framework developed by the NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ) is underpinning the approach of the expanded Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Control Program to protect the Great Barrier Reef from outbreaks of the coral-eating starfish (COTS). The recently-published technical report for TWQ Project 3.1.1 outlines the decision process that guides control operations across the scale of the entire program, from divers to individual vessels and the entire control fleet. Information gathered by the program and the latest research into COTS biology and reef ecology feeds into the decision process to make it adaptive. Analysis indicates that the expanded COTS Control Program is achieving rapid and sustained reductions in COTS densities at control sites to well below the threshold at which coral growth can outpace COTS predation. The technical report is available to read online, while more information about Project 3.1.1 and other COTS-related research also available on the TWQ Hub website..
Photo: Cameron Fletcher