Parrotfish eat algae and seaweed. These brightly colored fish with beaklike mouths inhabit coral reefs, the wellsprings of ocean life. Without them and other herbivores, algae and seaweed would overgrow the reefs, suppress coral growth and threaten the incredible array of life that depends on these reefs for shelter and food.
This was happening in Bermuda, until the government stepped in 30 years ago and banned fish traps that were decimating the parrotfish population. Today, Bermuda’s coral reefs are relatively healthy, a bright spot in the wider Caribbean, where total coral cover has declined by half since 1970.
Last month, in a reminder of just how dire the situation facing the world’s coral reefs is, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it was listing 20 species of coral as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, including all of what were once the most abundant Caribbean corals.… Seguir leyendo »