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Starfish, Beauty and Weakness

Tourists Endanger Starfish in the Dominican Republic

Starfish in the Dominican Republic don’t just decorate the ocean floor. They certainly are beautiful, and maybe don’t quite look real. While they are stunning, they have complex body systems. Each fancy starfish is a predator that travels great distances along the ocean floor.

Starfish in the Dominican Republic are Important for the Environment

Starfish in the Dominican Republic affect the environment by:

  • Cleaning the seabed. They eat carrion and remains of other dead marine animals, and weak or sick marine life
  • Absorbing and processing carbon dioxide harmful to the environment

On the eastsouth coast of the Dominican Republic you will find the brightest and most fascinating starfish. Visit the Blue Lagoon in the midst of the Caribbean, as part of an excursion to Saona island or even in Catalina island.

The natural resources in this area are fully protected.

Starfish are Protected

Tourists endanger starfish by using them for selfies or taking them from the water to examine them. This is such a big problem that, in October 2017, the Nature Conservation Service in the Dominican Republic took action. They completely banned taking starfish out of the water.

Starfish Die Quickly

Starfish breathe oxygen in the water using dermal gills. When they are removed from the sea they asphyxiate (suffocate). It doesn’t take long, just 3 – 5 minutes, but it is a cruel death.

Even if you don’t take them out of the water, but handle or play with them, it causes them stress. This stress weakens the starfish, and many times causes a slower death.

How to Observe Starfish Responsibly

  • Get on your snorkelling gear and go have a look. Don’t touch the starfish, just look.
  • Get an underwater camera to take pictures.
  • When you post your pictures online, please tell your friends how important it is to preserve and protect the starfish.
  • If you see someone else touching starfish, kindly remind them of the law. Certainly tell them about how the life of a starfish is fragile.

Please, share this information with anyone who visits the Dominican Republic. Our starfish are a treasure and important for the environment. Be kind to the starfish when you come.


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