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Broadcasters to raise funds for combating starfish

Date Posted: 2003-03-08

Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting Co. QAB has introduced a campaign to raise funds for the fight against the scourge of exploding Crowned Thorn Starfish populations that threaten to kill all of the prefecture’s coral reefs.

The only way to rid the reefs of the starfish is for divers to go in and physically remove the creatures one-by-one. And although many divers work for free as volunteers, there’s still the cost of fuel for boats, air for divers’ tanks, and myriads of other small expenses.

Local and central government representataives say that they have spent their entire budget earmarked for battling the coral-eating starfish, and will not get more money until next fiscal year’s budget goes into effect. Experts say the situation has steadily worsened this year, and that if something is not done, most--if not all--of the prefectures reefs will die in the near future. They also say that the reason for the explosive increase in starfish numbers is a mystery.

QAB officials responding to the stirring response from its audience, have created an easy way for everyone to donate money for the cause. QAB enlisted the help of the national telephone company NTT, which will charge an extra ¥100 to the regular telephone bill of those who wish to donate. Those who would like to join the campaign should call QAB at 860-1984 or 0990-5-03545 and say that they would like to donate for “churashima-bokin.” NTT will then automatically add the ¥100 donation to the caller’s next telephone bill. The donations are earmarked to Zamami Village Divers’ Association that is spearheading the campaign.

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