31 July 2009

If you can't beat them, eat them

What to do with a plague of noxious sea stars that have invaded your ecosystem and is devastating your clam industry?Grind them up into ingredients for pharmaceutical products! A company hopes to harvest 5 to 20 tonnes of these sea stars a week!

The Echinoblog has a series of very informative posts about these creepy invaders.

Part 1 on these introduced sea stars details their destructive impact on the ecosystem, with Part 2 with more about how taxonomy played an important part and efforts to get rid of the sea stars.

The Echinoblog also has a post with photos of these sea stars as human food, with more about why we should NOT eat sea stars.

Unfortunately, some ordinary people confuse the issues and think that ALL sea stars are bad and should be killed. I come across comments to this effect on web forums, from visitors during my walks and other casual interactions with ordinary people.

Marine pest transformed into health product
ABC 29 Jul 09;
A Tasmanian company is hoping to make money out of a noxious marine pest while also reducing its numbers.

The northern pacific sea star is found in large numbers in Tasmania and is blamed for devastating the state's shell fish industry.

Local company Refined Protein Resources has been given a 12 month permit by the Environment Department to extract high-grade bio-active elements from the pests for use in pharmaceutical products.

The Director Ambrose Coad says the minerals are in high demand.

"There are a lot of supplements out there, tablets, powders and so forth that have calcium, magnesium and these other trace elements in them," he said.

The project will also reduce starfish numbers.

Mr Coad says he hopes his divers will be able to collect between five and 20 tonnes a week.

More about recent marine invasive species
from the wildsingapore news blog

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