**Valerie Taylor** was stung by this starfish during this brief encounter. Elsewhere more serious injuries were occuring – sometimes with disasterous consequences – a concert pianist losing a finger was a bad example. Early attempts to kill starfish by cutting them in halves resulted in each half starfish growing a new \\other half.\\
This (now damaged) picture first appeared in a popular weekly Australian magazine as **The Creature That’s Eating the Reef.** It sparked a storm of protest of neglect in Queensland.
The Joh Bjelke-Petersen dominated Queensland State government spun a line there was **no threat** to the Great Barrier Reef refusing to spend anything to correct the problem. Many within media, and the institution staff where he was employed labled the true defender of the reef, (the late) **Dr Robert Endean** a sensationist. This opinion filtered elsewhere as divisions of pro and anti starfish groups became established.
Many film documentaries especially by **Robert Raymond** and **Four Corners** explored the topic for decades. Recently seemingly more serious \\coral bleaching\\ and \\global warming\\ themes have made CoT starfish plagues insignificant, some believing them beneficial.
I visited the \\Mission Beach\\ offshore reefs twice in recent years and saw BEFORE and AFTER proof. The latest destruction by starfish at once spectacular reefs now rubble. Locals are reluctant to promote their loss for commercial tourism reasons. The media regard the problem as \\stale news\\ unless a new spin is presented, and there doesn’t seem to be any, as yet.
Hard coral may eventually return, but it hasn’t at **Low Isles** off Port Douglas, for example.
Usually **soft corals** occupy the space where hard corals once were. Like colourful plants to an un-trained eye they seems beautiful. (Fiji coral reefs are now famous for soft corals and attract u-w photographers).
With adult CoT living two hundred or more years they might be natural \\lawn mowers\\ when present in small numbers. When present in ‘plagues’ of tens of thousand they seem very detrimental to the future of hard coral reef as we know them today.