$10 starfish bounty better for Reef than fishing bans

Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter is calling for a $10 bounty to be placed on the pest crown-of-thorns starfish.

Today an Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) report show a 50% decrease in Great Barrier Reef coral cover over the 27-year monitoring period. Principle causes of decline have been identified as cyclones (48%), crown-of-thorns (42%) and coral bleaching (10%).

“Australians can do little to counter the effects of cyclones or coral bleaching – but we could give the Reef a tremendous boost if we get rid of the crown-of-thorns starfish,” said Mr Katter.

“We reckon a 10-buck bounty would do the job, and we are calling on councils from Cairns to Mackay to consider pooling their resources to beat this deadly enemy of the Reef.

“Every year we could run a competition for the ‘King and Queen of the Reef’ – the winner being the one who has collected the most crown-of-thorns starfish.

“This competition tied with a $10 bounty would remove this predator and help stimulate our tourism industry.

“Scuba divers from around the world could explore our Reef and get paid to remove one of its deadliest enemies.”

Mr Katter said such an initiative would do more to protect the Reef than the arbitrary fishing bans imposed by both the ALP and LNP to pander to the green vote.

“When assessing the cost, one must consider the millions of dollars spent – or rather wasted – on GBRMPA. They have had years, but have not tackled this problem. Instead they have driven us mad locking us out of our reef, telling us we can’t fish or farm and pandering to the ‘greenie monster’.

“We must take heed of this alarming report from the eminent scientists in AIMS, acknowledge that GBRMPA is not doing its job, and start calling for bounty hunters.”