Les acanthasters se roulent en boule au bout du crochet. (TIoman, Malaisie, juillet 2006)
The acanthasters roll in a ball at the end of the hook. (TIoman, Malaysia, July 2006)

Harvesting acanthasters


  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

Last day of diving in Tioman, peninsular Malaysia side. A day dedicated to the dreaded acanthaster, coral starfish ...

Thorny crowns

This Saturday is my last day of diving at Tioman. I agree one day without bubbles, tomorrow, so that my combi has time to dry, since it will have to redo my bag. I must indeed be at Johor Bahru Monday night, to take my plane to Sandakan (Borneo) Tuesday morning.

An extensive ecological operation is taking place this weekend on the island, organized every year in Tioman, at the initiative of the government and the local office of tourism and the environment: the harvest of "crowns of thorns", literally the "Crowns of thorns". TheAcanthaster planci, of its scientific name, is part of the family of sea stars. It feeds on coral polyps and is able to destroy entire sections of reef when its population is too dense.

This is the case in Tioman, where invading sea stars bristling with venomous spines threaten the fragile coral ecosystem. Started yesterday, the harvest of acanthasters mobilizes the 14 diving centers of the island.

L'étoile de mer acanthaster est aussi appelée "couronne d'épines". (Tioman, Malaisie, juillet 2006)
The acanthaster starfish is also called "crown of thorns". (Tioman, Malaysia, July 2006)
Les piquants de l'acanthaster sont venimeux. (TIoman, Malaisie, juillet 2006)
The quills of the acanthaster are venomous. (TIoman, Malaysia, July 2006)

A delicate harvest

Today is our turn! After a first and remarkable exploration dive on the site of Over there, rocky island surrounded by a beautiful coral reef off Tioman, we divide into groups of three for the next dive. I am with my friends Maz and Alex. We are given a net bag and a hook to pick up the dreaded acanthasters.

Maz handles the hook, Alex holds the net, which is gradually increasing. We must pass the end of the hook gently under the starfish, which rolls into a ball, like a hedgehog. Avoid over-stressing the animal and be careful not to rub the stinging spines. My friends apply. I do the tracking and designates the acanthasters that I find. Then I admire the job taking pictures ...

Il faut faire attention à ne pas toucher les épines venimeuses des acanthasters. (TIoman, Malaisie, juillet 2006)
Be careful not to touch the venomous spines of acanthasters. (TIoman, Malaysia, July 2006)
Les acanthasters se roulent en boule au bout du crochet. (TIoman, Malaisie, juillet 2006)
The acanthasters roll in a ball at the end of the hook. (TIoman, Malaysia, July 2006)
Le filet se remplit d'acanthasters. (TIoman, Malaisie, juillet 2006)
The net fills with acanthasters. (TIoman, Malaysia, July 2006)

Driven by our momentum, we will make a very long dive of more than an hour, not too deep, in the zone of 5-10 meters and will bring to the surface the full bag, heavy of these crowns of thorns sips of water.

We are all three, by far, those who have found the most ... and proud to have completed our mission!


  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006