The fish we are eating today may be extinct 15 to 25 years from now.
A new study conducted by the Haribon Foundation in partnership with the Newcastle University showed that 59 different species are already disappearing and showed increases of vulnerability from catches of reef-based fishers to sell in the market and make local delicacies. This includes the parrotfishes in the Philippines, specifically the Green Bumphead Parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum), but did you ever think what is the significant role of these kinds of fishes to us and our environment?
Parrotfish are colorful and voracious herbivores. Their numerous teeth are arranged in a tightly packed mosaic on the external surface of their jawbones, forming a parrot-like beak that they use to spend up to 90% of their day eating algae off of coral reefs and other rocky substrates. In other words, they are the ones who clean and prevent the coral reefs from becoming unhealthy and hindering them from growth. Now, this is the most important contribution of the parrotfish, the algae are pulverized with grinding teeth in the fishes’ throat and after they digest the edible portions from the rock, they excrete it as sand. Parrotfish produces up to 200 pounds and more each year, helping create small islands, sandy beaches, production and distribution of coral sands in the reef biome.
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 parrotfish were high on the reefs, the reefs flourished.
There are ways we can protect not only the parrotfish but also the other animals:
1. Building protected areas, habitat and animal conservation
2. Banning of hunting rare animals as well as the other species
3. Selling of rare animals especially those who are endangered and vulnerable to extinction
4. Do not buy or eat meat from rare animals
Parrotfish and all of the animals have lives. Just like humans, they also have an important role in developing the ecosystem and we can’t live without it. So protecting and saving animals is necessary. Act now and spread awareness!