6 Things you can do to save the starfish from dying

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6 Things you can do to save the starfish from dying

November 23, 2020 Sea life 0

People are touching, lifting, holding, moving, rearranging and playing with the starfish. All for the perfect photo for their own social media.

But not only the tourist are part of the problem. The starsfish are also reduced in number due to the continuous harvesting by the industry. In some areas overharvesting is an issue and reduces greatly the population of the starfish. They got collected from the wild for use in the marine aquarium trade and are also dried to be sold as decorative accessories (for around 80 php = 1,66 USD). 

Why we should not even touch the starfish

Like all marine animals, starfish are an organism found in the sea for a simple reason: They do not breathe air. Although this is something very logical, some people captivated by their beauty take them out of the water without thinking about the damage they cause them.

Maybe you’ve heard someone say that if you take a starfish out of the water, you die immediately, in 1 minute, in 5 minutes, etc. The truth is not something that happens exactly in 1 minute, but if you take them out and put them in several times even for less than 30 seconds you also die, and then we explain why and what you can do to protect them.

sea ​​stars capture oxygen from the water for their breathing process through these dermal gills and when these species are removed from their aquatic habitat they cannot exchange gases for their life cycles, for what they suffer from intoxication, usually with carbon dioxide or monoxide and in a relatively short time they die , that is, they “choke”, it takes about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the specimen.

In humans, this activity would be equivalent to filling the lungs with water for a few minutes to take a funny picture. You dare? Who volunteers? Do not worry, every 5 minutes we empty your lungs for a few seconds so that it does not die and then fill them again for the next photo session.

Even without taking them out of the water a lot, the constant handling, taking them out and putting them many times , stacking them, putting them together or placing them on top of each other as if they were a toy for our creativity, are conditions outside the way of life of these animals , which can easily cause them death.

Can you imagine a photoshoot underwater, and they tell you that every so often you have to dive, hold your breath and in the process do not let you rest?

On 2 occasions I have participated in scientific studies of starfish, where Biologists, take them out only once for a few seconds to photograph and measure them, take them very carefully and even wear gloves, so that the pH of our body or products To protect our skin from the sun, do not harm them.

The fact that they are hard and have those thorns does not mean that they are all-terrain, taking them out 1 time will not kill them, but one person takes them out, then the other wants to see them, that if the child wants to touch them, the one who I was beyond too, the other is curious, etc. Thus, one after another, the poor little animal is suffering.

Just a single gentle poke we do to them might hurt them, not to mention a strong grab to get them out of water.

Forcefully taking them out of water with our hands without proper technique is very risky. For your information, those creatures have so many tiny structures all over their bodies. We cannot make sure that what we do to them will not hurt them, just because we cannot see the damage.

Another reason not to take the sea creatures out of water by our hands is because our hands might be poisonous to them. Human skin is naturally coated with oil, and there are billions of bacteria living on it.

The impact of our touches might not affect the creatures directly, but it would give the creatures a slow and painful death. While starfish’s body is covered with soft and thin tissue, they have higher risk of contamination. Thus, the star-shaped animal is under bigger threat of poisons transmitted by human’s direct touches.

Try to take a moment to search for starfish pictures in social media like instagram, facebook, or twitter. If you can find some, you will see that in most of those pictures the starfish are out of water, rather than their natural habitat.

Every single thing on earth is made to keep the balance in nature. Thus, starfish, as well as other marine animals, were not made to become instagram artists. They have their own functions in their environments. Most of us already know it but choose to ignore it.

The simplest thing we can do to help this earth is by not hurting it. It also applies to the creatures living on it. Thus, next time you are going to the beach and having the urge to take some beautiful pictures, better not risking other creature’s life.

How to help protect them:

Starfish are observed from outside the water or from inside with Snorkel, without taking them out.

And if you didn’t know it and you already did, we thank you for not divulging your photos on the Internet and when you show it to your friends or family, always let them know that it is not the right thing to do. You did it without knowing, but it is time that nobody else does.

When you see someone doing this, don’t be cruel and ruthless, they may not know what they are doing. Kindly transmit this information so they don’t do it anymore.

Share this information with friends and acquaintances. The more people they know, the faster we will stop practicing these bad habits that damage this natural treasure of our beaches.

About the starfish

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a starfish is related to sand dollars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers, and is classified as an echinoderm. Not a fish. Neither gills, scales, nor fins grace starfish; not even blood, cold or otherwise. Nutrients move through their bodies via salt water, pumped throughout. They’re found throughout the world, but only in salt water.

Source: https://earthbuddies.net/ & https://themazatlanpost.com/

About the starfish


Official name:
Protoreaster nodosus
Also called:
horned sea star or chocolate chip sea star


hunt down snails and eat them.
consists of sponges and detritus. Will consume both plant and animal material. Mouth is located ventrally. The chocolate ship sea star eats by extending its stomach out of its mouth, covering food, and digesting it externally.


prefer sheltered, sandy or slightly muddy bottoms. between the leaves of seagrasses on sea grass meadows or on blank stretch of coral sand


16 inches (40 cm) across