Cairns travel agents will help in the fight against the crown-of-thorns starfish when they join a Passions of Paradise program to combat outbreaks of the Great Barrier Reef pest.
Passions of Paradise Sales and Marketing Manager Adam O’Malley said eight agents would be given the opportunity to become a part of the first volunteer group trained to kill the coral-eating predator which poses one of the greatest threats to the Great Barrier Reef.
“The agents who sell our tours have been keen to learn about Passions of Paradise’s commitment to the environment and have supported our community initiatives such as cleaning up the Cairns waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef on World Rivers Day.
“We have spoken to a few about getting involved with our voluntary Operation Elimination group targeting the crown-of-thorns starfish and they were very excited.
“The demand to join the program is expected to be so strong that we will ask agents to tell us why they want to participate and choose those who are especially keen to do their bit for the World Heritage area.
“An information session will be held to educate participants in the Reef’s ecosystem, the role of crown-of-thorns starfish, the state of the current outbreak, possible causes, risk management in removing the starfish and first aid.
“Risk management will again be emphasised the day the agents travel to the Great Barrier Reef when they will be trained in injecting the starfish before working in buddy teams of four under the supervision of a dive instructor.
“Once they have completed this program, the agents are welcome to come out on Passions of Paradise at their leisure to eradicate the crown-of-thorns starfish.
“Participants need to be certified divers and all their equipment and training will be provided. We will roll out more training opportunities for agents to become involved in Operation Elimination in the future.”
Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators’ project manager for the crown-of-thorns control program Steve Moon congratulated Passions of Paradise on the initiative which he said would help in the fight against the crown-of-thorns.
“Passions of Paradise is one of 27 marine tourism operators with a permit to carry out crown-of thorns starfish control and for more than 15 years the company’s employees have been voluntarily helping to reduce the numbers of this pest,” he said.
A commitment to research, education and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef has earned Passions of Paradise the 2014 Queensland Tourism Award and the 2014 Tropical North Queensland Tourism Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism, Ecotourism Australia’s 2013 Innovation in Ecotourism Award and a partnership with PADI’s 100% Project Aware.
If you are a Cairns Local Travel Agent and want to be part of Operation Elimination, send 100 words or less as to why you want to be a part to email@example.com before Friday 5th June.
Remember – We have one planet, lets take care of it!