Sea snails to protect Great Barrier Reef

Hordes of starfish-eating sea snails are set to be sent to The Great Barrier Reef in a bid to protect coral from starfish.

The Federal Government is spending $568,000 on research and trials across the next two years, these would see Triton sea snails unleashed on the reef to eat the crown-of-thorns starfish.

The sea snails can grow to half-a-metre in size and were almost hunted to extinction, before being made a protected species in the 1960s.


Over 100,000 snail larvae have already hatched in the early stages of the trial.

They’ll be set upon the crown-of-thorns starfish, which is one of the leading causes of coral loss on the Great Barrier Reef.

The starfish spreads rapidly, and 150,000 of them can flock to just one square kilometre of coral during a cyclic outbreak.

According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, cyclic outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish occur approximately every 17 years.

There have been four documented outbreaks on the Great Barrier Reef since the 1960s, with the latest starting in 2010.

If you’re interested in an up to date look at the Reef’s health, visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.