Queensland National Parks Minister Steve Dickson says the crown of thorns starfish continues to be the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef.
Mr Dickson has met coral reef researchers on Lizard Island, north-east of Cooktown off far north Queensland. The Federal Government has spent more than $1.5 million eradicating the crown of thorns starfish between Lizard Island and the Whitsundays since last August.
Mr Dickson says he has discussed the marine pest with Federal Opposition spokesman Greg Hunt.
“From when I was a very young boy, crown of thorns starfish have been affecting the Great Barrier Reef, but slowly and surely killing it off,” Mr Dickson said.
“I think a lot of people believe that many other things are doing it. That is the greatest impact on the Great Barrier Reef and I understand just recently that scientific evidence has come up with a new process of being able to kill these crown of thorns starfish.”
Meanwhile, Mr Dickson says there will be better public access to Lizard Island from now on. He has opened a $345,000 boardwalk on the island and says the new infrastructure will help more visitors retrace the steps of Captain James Cook in 1770.
“The boardwalk was originally built in the early 1980s and it’s deteriorated over time,” he said.
“What the Department of QPWS [Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service] has put into place, we’ve renewed that boardwalk. [What] we’ve also done with it is built it out of recycled material so it’s going to be much more robust and it’s going to last much longer than the original walking track that was put into place.”