The future IPM COTS Control Program – necessary evolution for future readiness

David Westcott

The IPM CoTS Control Program (IPM CCP) has now been demonstrated to be an approach that is capable of reducing COTS densities to levels that protect coral cover, and of achieving this outcome at scales from individual sites, to reefs and across hundreds of reefs. This demonstrates that the IPM approach is effective at achieving its objectives and of doing so at scales that are relevant to the management of COTS outbreaks at the scale of the GBR. While this demonstration is an encouraging and necessary step it by no means signals that the current IPM COTS control program can effectively meet the challenge of the next COTS outbreak. For that the program’s strategy and operations will need to evolve even further. In this talk I consider these future needs and how the program must evolve to in order to meet them. I consider how the strategy will need to evolve, what this means for its objectives and operations, and consider the new tools that will required. While the challenge is great, there reason to be optimistic.