Protect Phu Quoc environment: Save parrotfish, save coral reef

Protect Phu Quoc environment: Save parrotfish, save coral reef

Parrotfish, like most ocean creatures, are threatened by human beings. Some fishermen seek out the largest species of parrotfish. Some fishermen catch them because of their meat. The others fish them for individual entertaining and serving tourists as well.

Save parrotfish, save coral reef (Photo: VI EPSCoR)
Save parrotfish, save coral reef (Photo: VI EPSCoR)

If only they could have known the importance of parrotfish in protecting the marine ecosystem, they would not have done that.

Parrotfish are also at risk from global climate change, water temperature change, and the general degradation of coral reefs.

Snorkeling is an activity that attracts lots of tourists to Phu Quoc Island. Therefore, restoring coral reefs is a pressing matter. Let John's Tours show you how the parrotfish play an important role in this.

Fascinating facts about parrotfish and why we have to save them

Parrotfish maximum sizes can reach 30–50 cm (12–20 in) in length. However, a few species reach 1 m (3 ft 3 in), especially the green humphead parrotfish can reach up to 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in).

Parrotfish are often very brightly colored. Their teeth are arranged in a tightly packed mosaic on the external surface of their jaw bones, forming a parrot-like beak, which helps them earn their name.

Parrotfish teeth form a parrot-like beak. (Photo: Reddit)
Parrotfish teeth form a parrot-like beak. (Photo: Reddit)

The ­parrotfish’s teeth are composed of ­fluorapatite, among the ­hardest biominerals in the world, even harder than ­copper, gold, and silver. Their fused teeth allow them to scrape algae from coral reefs and other rocky substrates. They grind their food and bits of coral with platelike teeth in their throats.

Most parrotfish species are herbivores, feeding mainly on algae. These tropical creatures spend about 90% of their day nibbling on corals and cleaning algae from their surface.

This almost-constant eating performs the essential task of cleaning the coral reefs which helps the corals be able to stay healthy and thrive. An indirect effect of parrotfish grazing on sponges is the protection of reef-building corals from fast-growing sponge species.

Parrotfish nibble on corals and clean algae from corals' surfaces. (Photo: National Geographic Kids)
Parrotfish nibble on corals and clean algae from corals' surfaces. (Photo: National Geographic Kids)

People say that climate change has already attacked coral reefs. But the loss of parrotfish and other seaweed-eating grazers has been far more important than climate change for reef destruction.

Therefore, parrotfish are incredibly important to the environments they live in and play a critical role in removing seaweed and sponges from corals. We can find them in coral reefs, rocky coasts, and seagrass beds.

Also, parrotfish eat dead corals and later excrete them as white sand. Parrotfish have more teeth inside their throats. They break down coral bits into the white sands. This process helps control algae populations and create new surfaces for baby corals to grow. Do you wonder how much sand a parrotfish can produce? Can it be enough to really make whole beaches?

If you love sandy fine beaches on Phu Quoc’s small islands such as May Rut Trong and Mong Tay (Fingernail Island), thank parrotfish, they can turn tons of ­coral into the sand in a year. One more interesting fact, the white-sand beaches of Hawaii are almost entirely created through parrotfish poop. 

May Rut Trong Island
May Rut Trong Island

Parrotfish's feeding activity is important for the production and distribution of coral sands in the reef biome and can prevent algal overgrowth of the reef structure.

Let's raise our awareness about protecting parrotfish and stop consuming them

Coral reefs face lots of threats from climate change, pollution, and invasive species. Therefore, restoring parrotfish populations is a crucial deed in restoring reefs. Without parrotfish, corals would quickly become suffocated by seaweeds on many reefs.

Parrotfish are considered a delicacy and can be sold abroad by falsely labeling the meat as grouper because of the high demand. Due to overharvesting and loss of habitats of juveniles through coral reef destruction and other disturbances, bumphead parrotfish are in danger of becoming extinct.

Many people catch parrotfish only because of their colorful appearance. (Photo: VI EPSCoR)
Many people catch parrotfish only because of their colorful appearance. (Photo: VI EPSCoR)

Because of the colorful and beautiful parrot fish, many fishermen for the benefit catch them to please tourists on fishing trips and sell them, ignoring that action harms the coral reefs.

Even parrotfish are delicious, not necessarily to eat them. You can replace this food with other fish such as grouper, cobia, mackerel, etc. It has nothing to do with your health or your experience on your Phu Quoc trip.

If tourists speak up to stop them from hunting parrotfish on daily island trips and do not buy parrot fish in the market, tourists contribute greatly toward protecting and conserving Phu Quoc's marine environment.

If no one wants to buy parrotfish, the fisherfolk will not catch parrotfish.

John's Tours wants to give a hand to make tourists aware of the consequences of eating parrotfish and raise public awareness about protecting parrotfish to keep our reefs healthy and thriving.

No catching and consuming parrotfish. Let's be responsible Phu Quoc tourists.

  • Popular posts
  • Recent posts
0948 222 111
0948 222 111
0948 222 111
0918 939 111
WhatsApp
Messenger