THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Thai Eye: Parrotfish are much more than pretty sea creatures

PHUKET: This past month, I saw an interesting news story about Parrotfish. The main issue of the story, provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is in regard to the Parrotfish that are currently sold widespread in supermarkets.


By Kanokwan Homcha-aim

Monday 28 July 2014, 05:12PM


Photo: Richard Ling

Photo: Richard Ling

The IUCN is actively encouraging people to stop buying and consuming this important fish. This story led me to a Thai Facebook page with a strong stance of anti-Parrotfish consumption.

Here in Phuket, I found Parrotfish being sold in many restaurants and local markets; quite often already on ice ready to be cooked à-la-carte. I had to get to the bottom of this story and see why this environmentally important fish was also very important to the local restaurant market.

Well, I must admit that the first thing that popped into my head was “What’s the big deal? Parrotfish are abundant and I find them nearly everywhere when I dive around the local reefs”.

However, after performing a little research, I found that this issue is very serious and can affect the reef at a level that I previously thought unimaginable.
For some people who have no idea what Parrotfish look like, well they look exactly like a parrot.

They are very colorful and have a parrot-like beak that can grind algae from coral and other rocky substrates. Parrotfish are easily found in shallow oceans throughout the world, most abundant in the Indo-Pacific.

They are found along coral reefs, rocky coasts, and sea grass beds, and play a significant role in bioerosion. Parrotfish spend most of their day eating algae off the coral reefs then they digest the edible portions from the rock and excrete it as sand, helping to create small islands and the sandy beaches.

One Parrotfish can produce 90 kg of sand per year. Therefore, the Parrotfish’s eating habit is important for the production and distribution of coral sands and can prevent coral reefs from being overgrown by seaweed.

In Thailand, people normally catch Parrotfish to keep as ornamental pets, not for eating. However, currently it is possible to find Parrotfish on menus throughout the island and beyond. Wide spread consumption of Parrotfish will lead to over-fishing. Now, let me show you what happens when herbivourous fish such as the Parrotfish are removed from their coral reef habitats:

Research from Dr. Peter Mumby, Queensland University in 2013 found that reefs in the conservation zone (where no fishing is allowed and Parrotfish exist) have a 6-times faster recovery rate than reefs located in fisheries zone.

Experiments in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia showed that reefs surrounded with herbivorous fish can recover faster from bleaching; while reefs with no herbivorous fish are fully covered with algae.

Most Caribbean reefs have been dominated by algae since the mid-1990s due to a combination of mass die-off of sea urchins and the overfishing of Parrotfish. The healthiest Caribbean reefs are those that still have robust Parrotfish populations.

Parrotfish are not only beautiful, but can also help restore coral reefs. The next time you visit a seafood restaurant, please consider ordering something other than Parrotfish. These beautiful creatures should swim freely in the reefs and not end up on your plate.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Over 1,000 arrested in Phuket ‘Operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner’ clampdown

I think Phuket would be a better, safer place if the government applied as many resources to crack d...(Read More)


Fishing the exotic

Dragging an animal around via a steel hook in its mouth, until it dies, or is put thru huge distress...(Read More)


VIDEO: An Inside Look at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival

"Unfortunately there are some that still don't have a clue," true, and it's you....(Read More)


Phuket Vegetarian Festival takes to the streets

"Well you did actually, that's because you have no idea of what the piercing signifies,&quo...(Read More)


Chinese tourist volume continues dip, but FITs rise

Devaluate the Baht and clean up the tourist destinations and western tourists will come back....(Read More)


Phuket rubbish collector killed in road accident

"still doesn't make any sense" and therefore lies the problem, you just don't, can...(Read More)


One dead in ‘Phoenix’ salvage operation

"There is no need for idiots on here to surmise what occured," and you keep commenting... ...(Read More)


Chinese tourist volume continues dip, but FITs rise

In China people are waiting for 'salvage' of the Phoenix. By now, just 3.5 months talk abo...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018