More or less four hundred (400) Crown of Thorns (COTs) were removed at the marine area of Malabagon Reef in Escalante City, Negros Occidental during the conduct of coastal clean-up, just recently.
The COTS is a large starfish named for the spines that cover its body and arms. It is also known to permanently damage coral reefs, and scientists consider it a species of concern –not because its numbers are too low but because locally high numbers can threaten other species.
During the initial removal on March 15, CENRO-Cadiz personnel along with Local Government Unit (LGU) of Escalante City had collected approximately three-hundred (300) COTs.
Meanwhile, on March 22, a simultaneous coastal clean-up along the seawall of Barangay Old Poblacion and COTs removal at the Malabagon Reef both located in Escalante City were conducted. A total of 1, 763 non-biodegradable wastes were collected and a total of ninety-eight (98) COTs were removed.
The COTs gathered which were subsequently buried to an area/site identified by LGU Escalante City.
These activities were conducted by CENRO-Cadiz personnel composed of TSPS personnel, Office of the CENR Officer (OCENRO), Sagay Marine Reserve (SMR), and assisted by Northern Negros State Collage of Science and Technology (NONESCOST) Bachelors of Science and Fisheries and Biology as the office on-the-job training (OJT), with the collaboration of LGU Escalante City and Philippine Coast Guard.
These coral predators occur naturally on the reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific region and are also visible to the waters of the other provinces including the Aklan and Antique.