Coral and beach superheroes
Parrotfish live off a diet of algae that is found in the coral reef. They have special teeth in their throat that grind up the hard coral into little bits. These bits are important to us because they make their way out of the parrotfish and onto our beaches as sand.
Yes, white sand is largely fish poop. Wiggle your toes in that.
Estimates vary, but parrotfish may be able to produce up to 380kg (840lbs) of sand every year. That’s a lot of beach!
Beach erosion is a serious concern, and overfishing parrotfish will only put our coastlines in greater peril.
Caribbean economies rely heavily on tourists flocking to their beautiful white-sand (parrotfish poop) beaches. Further loss of beach sand could be disastrous for their livelihood.
Marine conservation organisations are working to protect parrotfish, as they reckon the fish are super important to the health and longevity of the coral reef.
In the Caribbean, parrotfish eat sponges and algae, which helps maintain the coral reef and prevent it from being overgrown. Sort of like Nature’s underwater lawnmowers.
In other words: Save the parrotfish, save the reef.
Did you know?
Raw parrotfish is a Polynesian delicacy, and was once considered so special it was only eaten by royals.
Parrotfish get their name from their fused mouth structures that look like parrot beaks. And their pretty colours.