Why Parrot Fish are important to our reefs and our beaches
Parrot fish are a beautiful fish which are always a treat to spot while on a dive. You can see them constantly biting away at the reef and darting from coral to coral with bounds of energy.
Did you know that they serve a vital purpose on our reefs? Parrot fish are likely the single most important species when it comes to reef health. They spend the majority of their day eating both algae and dead coral off of the reefs and pooping out white sand. This might not seem like a big deal, but each and every parrot fish in the ocean is estimated to produce around 700lbs of sand per year!
The constant nibbling on the reef actually has a very positive impact as well. Clearing off the dead coral and making room for new growth as well as eating excess algae off of reefs stimulates reefs to grow at a faster pace and also makes for overall much healthier eco-systems.
There have been several studies done which have proven this to be true including one done on the Caribbean coast of Panama by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, took sediment core samples as long as 33 feet along the reef structures in Panama. The results were conclusive. When populations of parrot fish were high on the reefs, the reefs flourished.
These fish need to be allowed to do the work they do best.