Tag Archives: Northern Pacific seastar

Pacific Seastars are multiplying in Kangaroo Bay

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.

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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.

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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”.

Northern Pacific Seastars

A couple of weeks ago, on some of the beaches in the northern section of the South Arm peninsula, I located some seastars (orange pronged starfish) and threw them up onto the dry sand so they could no longer breed and multiply. I recorded that these seastars had infected our Tasmanian waters and were a proliferating pest. Today’s Sunday Tasmanian newspaper has published an article about the seastars’ new enemy: the University of Tasmania’s Diving Club.  Recently members of the club have been conducting a clean out of the waters at Blackman’s Bay (located across the Derwent River from the South Arm peninsula) – and doing so in a more humane way than I was.  Apparently a species of spotted handfish used to be common in these waters but is now rarely seen.  The divers hope that this fish will return once they rid the area of the seastars.