Above: Ellison Reef off Mission Beach, Queensland before starfish killed entire reef.
Lower picture: A very old, large starfish on a bommie outside Fitzroy Lagoon (Capricorn and Bunker Group)
click above picture to enlarge it
**Beaver Cay, on or about 1983**
Captain Perry Harvey had a battle with marine park authorities over obtaining their permission (believe it or not) to remove coral destroying starfish from a vast patch of coral reef at Beaver Cay.
The reef was visited daily by his charter boat Friendship.
To sit by and watch the valuable coral reef (for tourism) being killed was ‘not on”.
Thousands of starfish were removed, before permission was finally granted.
The reef was saved, but only just.
Captain Perry Harvey was regularly interviewed in marine documentaries. The late Robert Raymond did extensive documentary film reporting and wrote a book on the subject.
Eventually budgets for starfish eradication by divers were granted.
Is the problem under control today? Global warming is the new buzz word.
Shown about 250 Crown of Thorns starfish – part of 1000 strung onto two spear lines by a couple of divers using a single tank of air each.
This was the infestation near Mystery Cay that shocked those on that dive.
Many thousands or coral eating starfish covered the reef – impossible to guesstimate their numbers in the short time we had there.
Our last dive after 14 days at sea before returning to the port of Yeppoon, 12 hours travel time away.
Save the Barrier Reef 1970
It was a Queensland conservation movement that became national years before other campaigns:
Tasmanian Dams (Franklin River).
Fraser Island (sand-mining).
Uranium (keep it in the ground).
Save the Barrier Reef campaign was replaced by global warming and coral bleaching concerns.
Bob was not excited with the large portrait of himself, but he agreed to be photographed alongside it.
He is shown surrounded by live coral (underwater) with his bush hat in one hand and mask and snorkle in the other.
The Reader in Zoology (pronounced zo-ology, NOT zoo-ology) at the University of Queensland for many years.
This photo has just surfaced and is proudly presented here in the memory of this great champion of coral reefs conservation and especially education.
Bob was the first person I heard refer to the Great Barrier Reef in the plural, i.e.\\Great Barrier Reefs.\\
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Not afraid of hard work, the late Dr Robert Endean also had a gold mine west of Brisbane which he worked at some weekends. Elsewhere he bred beef cattle at another property.
The former Reader in Zoology at the University of Queensland, Bob had a colorful marine biology career and was often quoted in the media (crown of thorns starfish plagues warnings especially).
His warnings on future starfish infestations fell on deaf government ears at the time, (Bjelke-Petersen era) but not so today with problems reported further north and south of original Cairns outbreaks.
Funds were allocated to dive teams this week to help control the problem.
See archives for more Crown of Thorns starfish stories.