Recently when I walked past the Marina at Bellerive, I looked down in horror to see hundreds of seastars foraging across the river bottom. The water was clear so their orange arms were spectularly visible. Some of these starfish were larger than a dinner plate.
The white lines in the photo above are the reflections of yacht masts.
I talked about these pests in two earlier postings; ‘Northern Pacific Seastars’ of 14 September 2014, and Stage 2 on 4/9/2014 Mitchell’s Beach of 5 September 2014. The Tasmanian government department responsible for parks (http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/file.aspx?id=6917) provides information about Tasmania’s 3 unique starfish and acknowledges the damage that Northern Pacific Seastars are doing to our marine life.
Pretty some might say. Perhaps that is why they are multiplying and limited collection and destruction actions are being taken.
For a split second I thought to throw off my clothes, jump in and start throwing these scavangers onto the jetty. Of course, common sense prevailed: I could have been overcome with hypothermia. In addition, I realised there were too many for one person to collect. Their removal needs a devoted crowd of wet suit clad divers to be methodical and dedicated. Of course the sadness is that thousands more are grazing out of eye shot. And they continue to breed so well in these cool waters.
You can read Louise Goggin’s story on these marauding seastars at http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/starfish/. ‘Enjoy’ the photo in this article “Community divers pulled 30,000 sea stars from the Derwent River in 1993 and hardly put a dent in the population”.