Captain Cook Cruises, Fiji is continuing its ‘Crowns of Thorns Removal’ program to control the population outbreak of the starfish and keep the coral reefs healthy, maintaining the excellent habitats for the fish and invertebrates in the Fiji waters they cruise.
Captain Cook Cruises who own Tivua Island, which is currently being listed as a marine park, and operate daily cruises from Port Denarau to Tivua and twice weekly cruises to the islands of the Mamanuca and Yasawa, first started the ‘Crown of Thorns Removal’ program when they realised that there was an increase in the population of Crown of Thorns starfish.
“We have guests visiting Tivua Island everyday on our Day Cruise. Snorkelling and swimming off Tivua is a highlight of this trip and as soon as we saw the coral on the reef was under threat we started the ‘Crown of Thorns Removal’ program which has been running for seven years.
Coral reefs not only in Fiji but everywhere around the world need to be cared for to ensure their existence and we will continue running this program to make sure our coral reef is healthy.” explains Jackie Charlton, CEO, Captain Cook Cruises Fiji.
Crown of Thorns starfish are a threat to the health of any coral reef as they feed on living coral tissue. In small numbers, they are a part of the coral reef ecosystem, however, in vast numbers they can eat corals faster than corals can reproduce leading to a reduction in coral cover.
As Jackie Charlton, explains their ‘Crown of Thorns Removal’ program is all about controlling the population of Crown of Thorns Starfish rather than eradicating them.
“Captain Cook Cruises monitoring program helps control population outbreaks. Our in house Marine Biologist monitors the outbreaks of Crown of Thorns starfish via a sustainable catch per unit effort. The coral growth which will keep up with the rate of Crown of Thorns is 0.1 and the CPUE obtained by our Marine Biologist during one month of diving off Tivua Island was 0.23, well above the sustainable value.
We run a similar programme at Sacred Islands in the Mamanuca and at other reefs in the Yasawas that we visit.
A lot of adult size Crown of Thorns starfish, who were in their reproductive stages already were caught, so it is imperative that we continue this program to maintain the levels to 0.1 to ensure our coral reefs in Fiji remain thriving and healthy”. Says Ms Charlton.
Captain Cook Cruises Tivua Island day cruise departs daily from Denarau Marina at 10.00am and returns at 5.00pm. Adults are FJ$175.00 and children (3-15 yrs) are FJ$119.00. Prices include all activities, lunch and beverages.
Captain Cook Cruises operate 3, 4 and 7 night cruises around the Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands. Cruises depart every Saturday and Tuesday from Port Denarau. Early Booking Savers (EBS) fares start from $699.20 per person twin share for the three-night cruise. Prices include all meals, guided village and island tours, glass bottom boat excursions, snorkelling and use of the ship’s facilities.
Source = Captain Cook Cruises