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SLIDESHOW: Protecting reefs from Crown-of-Thorns Starfish infestation

Danny Ocampo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2021 02:17 PM

Volunteer divers collected crown-of-thorns (COTs) starfish (Acanthaster planci) from Sepoc Wall, a popular dive site, in Tingloy, Batangas on Sunday, May 23, 2021. 

Crown-of-thorns starfish eat coral polyps and are natural residents of coral reefs. But due to several factors such as lack of predators, they can reach outbreak levels and could devastate a healthy reef in a few days. Coral reefs take 20 to 30 years to recover from severe COTs infestation. 

Collection of Crown-of-thorns should be done properly and carefully to avoid damaging corals and ensure they do not release eggs while being removed from the reef due to stress. The divers collected more than 140 COTs at an average depth of 4 to 6 meters, covering an area of less than 100 sq m in 60 mins. 

The group called on resort operators, fellow divers and the local governments of Mabini and Tingloy to monitor COTs infestations and remove them from the reef properly to protect the health of coral reefs in the area.

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Volunteer divers collect crown-of-thorns (COTs) starfish (Acanthaster planci) from Sepoc Wall, a popular dive site, in Tingloy, Batangas on May 23, 2021. Danny Ocampo, ABS-CBN News

A volunteer diver carefully removes a crown-of-thorns (COTs) starfish (Acanthaster planci) from Sepoc Wall, a popular dive site, in Tingloy, Batangas on May 23, 2021. Danny Ocampo, ABS-CBN News

Crown-of-thorns starfish eat coral polyps and are natural residents of coral reefs. Danny Ocampo, ABS-CBN News

A volunteer diver carefully removes a crown-of-thorns (COTs) starfish (Acanthaster planci) from Sepoc Wall, a popular dive site, in Tingloy, Batangas on May 23, 2021. Danny Ocampo, ABS-CBN News

Crown-of-thorns (COTs) starfish (Acanthaster planci) collected from Sepoc Wall on May 23, 2021. Danny Ocampo, ABS-CBN News