Conservation of parrotfish vitial to reef survial

Cancun, Q.R. – A proposal for the protection of the parrotfish is being considered for the state of Quintana Roo in an attempt to help preserve the reef.

Rafael Munoz Berzunza, head of the State of Environment and Ecology (SEMA), said there needs to be a conservation program or ban on fishing for parrotfish.  He explains that parrotfish are large consumers of algae, which in recent years, has grown considerably over the Mesoamerican Reef from Cancun past Tulum. In order to help clean up the reef, it’s mandatory to protect the species of fish.

While there is a campaign in place by Healthy Reefs and the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (Cemda), which has joined the state government, we need even more, he said.

“The activity of parrotfish is important because it’s like a little cow that eats algae on the reef. It is necessary that the authorities responsible for fisheries promote this change or establish some kind of ban or control,” he said.

 “We believe that the parrotfish should be preserved, without a doubt.”

Munoz Berzunza notes that parrotfish is not part of the local diet, nor is a standard menu item, but that the protection of the fish still needs to be promoted and not captured.

In recent years, microalga has grown over the reef, suffocating coral and threatening the marine ecosystem. The excessive increase in the algae goes beyond the presence of parrotfish and has to do with human activity, he says. To deal with the excessive growth of micro-algae, plans of ecological sewage systems are being established in tourist developments.

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