Vanuatu Crown of thorns monitoring
The objective of this webpage is to collect and centralize all the information on Crown-of-Thorns starfish (“COTs”) provided by all stakeholders working in the marine sector throughout Vanuatu (local divers, tourists, volunteers, researchers, yachties, NGOs, community monitorsetc.).
What is “crown-of-thorns”?
The large, coral-eating starfish Acanthaster planci (“crown-of-thorns” “COT”) is a major cause of coral reef disturbance, whose impact is quantitatively comparable to cyclones. These starfish are a natural parts of the ecosystem and generally occur at very low densities (typically < 1 individual / hectare).However, populations can dramatically increase during certain periods called “outbreaks” to reach thousands of individuals / ha, and then cause severe reef damage.
Over a third of Pacific reefs (including Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Australia, Palau, Guam, Samoa, Japan etc.) are being affected by episodes of COTs outbreaks, which can lead to the almost total destruction of corals in the area.
A major threat for marine life in vanuatu
In Vanuatu, the current situation is alarming: very high densities of COTs(e.g 7 000/ha!) have recently been recordedthroughout the archipelago. Intact and healthy corals reefs are necessary for and provide critical habitat to many fish and invertebrates harvested by the local communities: drastic reduction in living coral cover raises serious concerns for food security in areas where people exhibit strong dependance on coastal resources.
Browse the reefs and cot reports from throughout the country
Check out our interactive COT map: zoom in/out on the reefs, click on any dot to retreive the available information on COTs (including locations, numbers, clean-up events etc.)
Help us by reporting on COTs!
Simply fill the online form on the “REPORT” webpage to send us a report. Your reports will be processed and stored at the Vanuatu Fisheries Department. The corresponding information will be displayed on the interactive map. Your contribution will really help us to develop an optimal monitoring and management strategy for COTs in Vanuatu.
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