Meet the next gen COTS control innovation
Gladstone businessman Bruce Stobo has been working on the Swain Reefs on the southern Great Barrier Reef for 21 years. His boat charter business and dive equipment business in town usually keep him busy above the water, but sightings late last year of an outbreak of the devastating crown-of-thorns starfish in his ‘backyard’ prompted Bruce to dive in to help solve the problem.
Bruce, a member of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, donated his 25-metre catamaran Kanimbla to take 25 volunteer divers, including representatives from Queensland Parks and Wildlife, out to the Reef to put a stop to the starfish’s coral feast.
“I’ve been working around the Swains for 21 years so it’s no problem giving back,” Bruce modestly said.
“This all started when I reported seeing large numbers of the crown-of-thorns starfish through the Eye on the Reef app and then Queensland Parks went out and did more surveys to confirm the numbers and locations.
“Having seen the problem firsthand, I then wanted to do something about it.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the Reef from extreme weather, bleaching and fishing. If we can help by highlighting that crown-of-thorns starfish are also making an impact and do something to relieve that pressure, then we can give the Reef a better chance of recovering.
“I was just trying to highlight the problem and do something about it at this end of the Great Barrier Reef.”