“Stop taking selfies with starfish”

Netizens on travel sites recently expressed strong opinions against obtuse selfie lovers disturbing starfish in Rach Vem, Phu Quoc.
These tourists would lift the starfish out of the sea to take selfies, which causes them to dry up and die.
People are extremely upset with ignorant youngsters that caused unprompted deaths for the local marine creatures, and demand proper sanctions against this behavior.
Taking photos with live starfish is apparently trendy among tourists. The sea stars are arranged into patterns on the sand, then left shriveled up and suffocated.
People on social media, even celebrities, have shared countless touristy photos featuring starfish without knowing that they would die in a matter of seconds after leaving water.
Prof. Dr. Do Cong Thung, Chairman of the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources reiterated the fact, stating that this continuing occurrence would cause marine resources to decline.
Meanwhile, there has been misinformation that starfish prey upon corals so their population should be controlled, and taking selfies with them is a valid method to do so.

According to the Museum of Oceanography in Nha Trang, only one subspecies of starfish, the Acanthaster planci, feed on stony coral polyps.
These so-called crown-of-thorns starfish inhabit the Indo-Pacific seas in tropical and subtropical latitudes and contain toxins.
The phrase “Stop taking selfies with starfish” has been trending on social media as an effort to raise awareness in protecting natural resources and essentially the human lives that depend on them.

By Thuy Quyen - Translated by Tan Nghia

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