Background: Removal programs are effective strategies for short-term management of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster
spp.) populations, especially on a small scale. However, management programs are costly, and, in order to be effective, they must be based on local Acanthaster
spp. population dynamics. We have developed simple models to predict the annual number of removable A.
along the Onna coast of western central Okinawa Island, where chronic outbreaks have continued for several decades. Methods: The Onna coastal area was divided into five sectors, and annual abundance of small A.
individuals was used to predict the total number of removable individuals of a cohort in each sector. Three models were developed, based on size class data collected by the Onna Village Fisheries Cooperative (OVFC) for 2003–2015, according to possible patterns of recruitment and adult occurrence. Using the best-fit models selected for each of the five sectors, the number of individuals that potentially escaped removal was calculated. Results: Best-fit models were likely to differ among the five sectors instead of small differences in the coefficients of determination. The models predict differences in the number of residual starfish among sectors; the northernmost sector was predicted to have a high number of residuals and the potential density of A.
in the sector exceeded the outbreak criterion. Conclusions: These results suggest how to allocate resources to reduce the population of A.
along the Onna coast in 2016. The OVFC implemented a control program for A.
based on three model predictions.
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