THE Cremorne community has removed more than 10,000 invasive Northern Pacific sea stars from local waterways.
Destructive to the sea floor and native starfish species, the Northern Pacific sea star has populated the Cremorne Lagoon for more than 30 years and locals are now banding together to fight back.
Over two large-scale dive efforts involving eight boats, 20 divers and more than 40 volunteers, the local community has drastically lowered the population of sea stars in the area.
Local resident Scott Edwards said it was no easy feat.
“Before completing our dives, we had to apply for a permit to remove the species from the ocean,” he said.
“Once they were removed we were required to weigh, count and ethically drown each sea star in fresh water.
“The day was very involved and having a large volunteer base was crucial for a removal mission of this size.”
The Cremorne community plans to host three dives a year to help manage the population and reduce numbers as much as possible.
“During our dive efforts we mapped out five areas in the Lagoon that were particularly populated that divers and volunteers focused their efforts,” Mr Edwards said.
“The Cremorne Lagoon is a popular destination for many locals and many are already commenting on the difference in population.
“Prior to the dive efforts, thousands of sea stars were visible from the beach and it has been like that for more than three decades.
“Our main priority is to protect the natural environment and reduce the impact invasive species have on local sea life.
“We will continue to monitor population numbers to better inform future dive efforts.”
To find out more, look for ‘Invasive Seastar Clean Up, TASMANIA’ or ‘Cremorne Starfish Cleanup’ on Facebook.