By Yas D. Ocampo
Davao City – Researchers at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here said they were studying the sporadic appearance of the Crown of Thorns starfish, which has threatened coral reefs in Talicud Island in Samal.
Among the remedies being undertaken by the research divers was the injection of vinegar to kill the naturally occurring species to control their population.
The starfish, scientific name Acanthaster planci, is a venomous coral-eating starfish that threatens corals, which are living organisms that take years and centuries to rehabilitate.
The starfish is also known to be venomous and causes pain once divers or beachgoers come into contact.
DENR divers said that their current research showed the presence of the coral-eating starfish indicates a disturbance in the food chain or other environmental factors.
Gil V. Bigcas, Development Management Officer, at the DENR regional office, said that the office is also studying the prevalence of the species in other parts of the coast.
The population control of the Crown of Thorns is among the scheduled activities being lined up for the annual SCUBAsurero event to be held this month, which is the Month of the Ocean.
All certified divers of the DENR will be required to attend the event, with volunteer divers also welcome to join.