OceansWatch: Crown of Thorns Starfish Invasion

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There is a Crown of Thorns (COTs) outbreak spreading South to North through Vanuatu towards the Temotu Province of the Solomon Islands. The resilience of Coral Reef ecosystems in the area has been further negatively impacted by Cyclone Pam.

OceansWatch will train and equip communities in the Temotu Province Solomon Islands to protect their Reefs from COTs and in particular to protect their Marine Protected Areas so that rapid recovery can occur from increased recruitment. OceansWatch will also train communities in Coral Gardening so that recovery from COTs or bleaching events can be rapid and effective.

The OceansWatch team will visit 3 villages on Vanikoro Island and 3 villages on Utupua Island.  The team will then host a five day training program in each village to include fishermen, women and youth who will be educated on how to perform the following tasks.

  1. Identify COTs and COTs damage.
  2. Measure the number of COTs per hectare to determine if an outbreak has occurred.
  3. Safely remove COTs and know what to do with them once removed.
  4. Perform Coral Gardening techniques to assemble frames using wire and steel bar and know where best to position the frames.
  5. Choose the correct corals and know how to cut them and affix to the framework.  Each village will set up 1 frame.
  6. Plant grown coral back into appropriate substrate.

Based in New Zealand, OceansWatch is an international not-for-profit organization that works with sailors, divers, scientists and the public to help coastal communities to conserve their marine environments, develop sustainable livelihoods, and adapt to the effects of climate change.


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