Great reef preservation projects are going on and one is in Raja Ampat in Indonesia. An Australian activist, Norm Van’t Hoff, and others have organized a program run by locals to own and protect their beautiful reefs from poaching, over-fishing, damage from dive boats, and now, one more threat – an explosion of Crown Of Thorns Starfish (COTS). We don’t know why, but the COTS infestation is destroying large parts of the reef, as they did in the Great Barrier Reef.
Dr. Phil Dustan, from the Award-winning film “Chasing Coral,” is an internationally renowned marine biologist who specializes in reefs. He and colleagues in Raja Ampat have developed a kit that injects a weak vinegar solution (harmless in small amounts to the ocean environment) into COTS, causing them to die. Much like Lionfish in the Caribbean, the COTS are a threat, with no effective predator.
The locals are now being enlisted to eliminate COTs, but when the injector kits arrived in the islands, they went unused because most locals don’t own snorkeling gear – a mask alone is worth a week’s wages. What they need now are diving masks, snorkels and fins so the kits can be used.
Two of our divers, Bruce Butterworth and Jan Fine, are traveling to Raja Ampat in March to help with the effort. Blue Planet is collecting your old or unused masks, snorkels or fins for them to bring to the locals to use. It doesn’t matter how they look – if they work, they’re fine!
So, please bring them into Blue Planet any time. We will have a special bin for collection at our Holiday party on December 17th.
If you want more information or want to contribute in other ways, please contact Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org