ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (eTN) – Tourism officials here say that they are concerned about the great number of starfish that are being removed from their natural habitat and left to die on the Grand Anse Beach.
President of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association Russ Fielden said that his organization has been receiving reports that some persons have been removing the sea creatures from the water and throwing them into the air, like one would throw a Frisbee, for their dogs to fetch.
“My organization is of the view that these practices are cruel, and should be strongly discouraged,” he said. “In addition, starfish left to die on the beach, emit a terrible smell which is highly offensive to persons using the beach for recreational purposes.”
There are more than 2000 species of starfishes in the ocean and, according to local environmentalist Dianne Robert, they play an important role in the ocean eco-system because they are algae eaters, and they eat a certain type of algae that kills most fish
“They pretty much prevent shellfish from taking over. As a result, seaweed and certain algae will be unable to grow,” said Roberts, who explained that starfish use a complex hydraulic system to move around or cling to rocks, rather than using muscles to move their hundreds of tiny legs. “If you have ever tried to pry a starfish off a rock, you would know how effective its hydraulic system is,” Roberts said.