BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
VILLAGERS in the Western province are worried about the imminent threat that the growing population of the Crown of Thorns starfish I having on the environment.
NGOs, business partners, tourism operators, communities together with provincial government have been urged to dig deep in their effort to eradicate the spread of Crown of Thorns within the islands.
It is reported that already there is an outbreak in the Shortland Islands and in parts of Marovo Lagoon of the deadly coral predator.
“At the moment the crown of thorns are still ramping up in numbers,” said a Mr Duddley from Vella la Vella Island yesterday.
Duddley said the growing numbers of the pest is steadily moving all over Western province with the ocean current and that they want to know what authorities are doing to counter the threat.
“I think we’re going to lose our beautiful reefs now. What can we do in the future or does the government and NGOs have any plans to fight against crown of thorn?
“I’m a local diver and I am concern over the spreading, because there is evidence that these starfish outbreaks are partly a natural phenomenon that continues to affecting our reefs.
“Western Province is trying to do its marketing overseas in relation to tourism but what can we do next to stop those spreading.”
Duddley is among those who have come out and appealed to Western provincial culture and tourism division, NGOs, stakeholders, business houses, provincial government, schools and communities to step in and act to prevent the spreading of the starfish.
He explained that those creatures are slowly eating away the people’s livelihoods.
Western Province Culture and Tourism Division Chief Officer Jeffson Patovaki said his division will work closely with other partners, NGOs, communities and business houses in carrying out awareness and will seek funds to eradicate the spread of the creature.