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A PLUMBER has invested about $8000 in a coastal clean-up campaign

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A PLUMBER has invested about $8000 in a coastal clean-up campaign.

Paul Talbot, who runs PJT Green Plumbing, will launch Clean Up Our Water at Brighton pier this Sunday, with a volunteer day targeting the invasive Northern Pacific seastar as well as litter.

Mr Talbot, a keen diver, said the pest starfish and rubbish were having a devastating impact on dive sites throughout Port Phillip Bay as well as local beaches.

He hopes that enough people will join him at Brighton for the first in a series of clean-ups at Melbourne beaches, rivers and creeks. They will remove a truckload of rubbish and hundreds of seastars, a longstanding pest that damages the bay ecology.

“They go in packs. Essentially once they eat everything out they just move on. We are trying to stop that happening,” Mr Talbot said.

“They were found in Melbourne in the bay in 1993. Now it’s estimated there are more than 20 million of them in the bay … they’re everywhere.”

But equally as devastating, according to Mr Talbot, is the rubbish that washes into the bay when it rains.

Clean Up Our Water is encouraging diving clubs and the public to get involved in Sunday’s volunteer day, from 9am to 2pm. There will be a sausage sizzle.

■ The Northern Pacific seastar was introduced to Port Phillip Bay accidentally about 20 years ago and has few predators

■ It breeds prolifically, each female producing up to 20 million eggs annually

■ Seastars have a voracious appetite for native species, particularly shellfish

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