19 Nov 2014

Lemon dose killing Vanuatu pest

12:25 pm on 19 November 2014

Vanuatu scientists in collaboration with the Noumea-based Institute into Research for Development have isolated a cost-effective way to combat an invasion of crown of thorns starfish.

Vanuatu's Department of Fisheries started a research programme at the beginning of the year amid fears that the giant starfish posed a high risk to the country's marine environment.

In the past imported chemicals were used to rid Vanuatu's waters of the pest but now manager, Rena Jereva Sompet, says they have found a dose of lemon and vinegar injected into the crown of thorns causes its body to decompose within 24 hours.

"Importing chemicals for injection is very expensive and at times it is not sustainable for national programmes, so I think what Vanuatu has achieved in collaboration with IRD [Institute into Research for Development] using the local lemon juice as the main ingredient for a little dose is a very encouraging result and is the first one done in the Pacific."