The Discovery Passage Aquarium is doing a survey of sea stars at Willow Point Reef on June 8 as part of World Oceans Day. Photo, Discovery Passage Aquarium

Campbell River aquarium takes stock of sea stars for World Oceans Day

Survey will provide data for researchers studying wasting syndrome among sea stars

To mark World Oceans Day, the Discovery Passage Aquarium is hosting a sea star survey at Willow Point Reef on June 8.

The project is aimed at bringing awareness to the biodiversity of marine organisms found in the community’s backyard. Specifically, the aquarium will be taking part in an inventory of sea stars in the area.

“We got out on to the beach…. to take inventory on the sea stars that we have at certain sites,” says aquarium manager Ricky Belanger. “We can report that data to a common database that researchers can then use to evaluate the status of sea stars regionally.”

The survey will also aid in research being done on sea star wasting syndrome. Sea stars – or starfish – on the Pacific Coast of North America have been facing a mysterious fatal wasting disease, which affected large numbers in 2013 and 2014. There had been similar outbreaks in previous decades though on smaller scale. According to an online article from the University of California Santa Cruz, the disease persists at lower levels and continues to kill off sea stars. Here, they have been plentiful in the past but have started declining, with other species such as green sea urchins moving into local waters.

“The ochre star and the sunflower sea star are both critically important keystone species,” Belanger adds.

RELATED STORY: Discovery Passage Aquarium getting prepped for Saturday’s opening

The goal of World Oceans Day is to honor, protect and conserve oceans. The idea was proposed by the Government of Canada during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and the United Nations officially recognized June 8 as World Oceans Day in 2008. Last year, the Discovery Passage Aquarium conducted a beach clean-up in conjunction with World Oceans Day.

RELATED STORY: Aquarium cleans up Campbell River ocean front

This year, the aquarium staff and volunteers will also be cleaning up the beach as well as helping collect data for an inventory on sea stars in the reef area. They will also be discussing ways to reduce human impact on the oceans.

“We hope to educate and inspire people to protect our seas as well as have some fun on the reef,” says a release from the aquarium.

The staff encourage members of the public to join them on Saturday, July 8, at the Willow Point Reef starting at 2 p.m. for the World Oceans Day event. For more information about the Discovery Passage Aquarium, see http://discoverypassageaquarium.ca/ or the aquarium’s Facebook page.

Just Posted

Storm add big net presence to roster

Goalie Robert Michetti boasts impressive numbers

Two Campbell River First Nations advance to final stage of treaty negotiation

The Campbell River-based Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations have signed… Continue reading

City of Campbell River to replace pumper truck at No. 2 Hall

Old truck to be moved into reserve roll for five years before decision is made on disposal options

PHOTOS: Cumberland Wild embraces diverse musical talents

Day 1 of the two-day music festival took place Saturday

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read