By ASHWINI PRASAD
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
TO prevent the reef system from degrading, Treasure Island resort has a program which has been successful.
Environmental Officer Katrina Masitabua said following a site survey for Crown of Thorns Outbreak (COTS) in May 2007 by Ocean Antics Consulting it was decided that a program be put together to try and reduce the overall number of COTS on the house reefs surrounding Eluvuka Island, more commonly known as Treasure Island.
Initially the program started out as a voluntary operation involving all staff who were paid $1 per crown, this then dropped to $0.50 per crown. This quickly degenerated and the program died down.
"This remained so for a short time before management decided there was a high chance that most of the reef system would be degraded and lost.
"Several divers were then employed specifically for COTS diving and the program in still on going today. Monitoring is conducted daily via surveys of frequented reef patches by the islands, she said.
The close proximity of the island's house reefs to other sunken reef patches is a possible means of migration of COTS populations from one healthy reef to the next making control efforts an ongoing occurrence that must be maintained for what would likely be years.
COTS divers on the island started out using injection guns injecting COTS with a solution of Sodium Bisulphate, which is the most inexpensive method apart from physical removal, she said.
In December of 2008, divers began removing them physically and records of COTS sizes ranging from 13cm to 40cm were kept.
In the month of June, 2009 a total of 403 COTS were removed from the surrounding reef, a lot less than the 862 individuals that were removed in May of the same year.
Project saves reefs - Fiji Times Online