Protecting the Great Barrier Reef of Australia

Tourism operators will be paid to kill giant coral-chomping starfish on the Great Barrier Reef in a move to protect its fragile ecosystem, the Australian government has announced.

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell said a $440,000 grant would fund a two-year program to eradicate crown-of-thorns starfish from some of the reef's most popular patches of coral.

The Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators will be in charge of the program to remove the spiny starfish -- which can measure nearly 3 feet in diameter -- from the reef.

"The program focuses on protecting tourism sites and will operate at locations where the tourism operators have active measures to control crown-of-thorns starfish in place themselves," Campbell said.

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