Spearfishing Parrotfish: Do Not Do It

Earlier this month some scary news was spread: Most Caribbean coral reefs will disappear within the next twenty years unless action is taken to protect them. I am pretty skeptical in believing what I read, but it got my attention, you bet it got it. You might have even read the article yourself. Let me explain the title: “Spearfishing Parrotfish: Do not do it!”

Some words from the report, Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012, that was published online:

While climate change and the resulting ocean acidification and coral bleaching does pose a major threat to the region, the report found that local pressures such as overfishing posed the biggest problems. This factor has made the loss of the two main grazer species, the parrotfish and sea urchin, the key driver of coral decline in the Caribbean.

Reefs where parrotfish are not protected have suffered significant declines, including Jamaica, the entire Florida reef tract from Miami to Key West, and the US Virgin Islands. At the same time, the report showed that some of the healthiest Caribbean coral reefs are those that are home to big populations of grazing parrotfish. These include the US Flower Garden Banks national marine sanctuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda and Bonaire – all of which have restricted or banned fishing practices that harm parrotfish.

According to the authors, restoring parrotfish populations and improving other management strategies could help the reefs recover. “The rate at which the Caribbean corals have been declining is truly alarming,” said Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of IUCN’s global marine and polar programme. “But this study brings some very encouraging news: the fate of Caribbean corals is not beyond our control and there are some very concrete steps that we can take to help them recover.”

This is exactly what I wanted to write about. We’ve always stated that as SpearfishingToday we do NOT shoot Parrotfish. Most logical reason is that they keep the reefs healthy but they are also beautiful to watch. So keep in mind; Spearfishing Parrotfish: Do not do it!



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