THE TRUTH ABOUT PARROTFISH
By GREGG YAN
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp
THE WILD SIDE
Over the past years, social media posts have been circulating about the need to avoid Parrotfish, popularly called Loro or Molmol, in public markets. These posts have been shared tens of thousands of times with the best of intentions, but there’s more to the discussion than simply banning the capture of these colorful reef residents. JUST WHAT ARE PARROTFISH? Parrotfish are any of the 90 or so Fish species belonging to the Wrasse (pronounced rass) family. They’re common sights in tropical Coral reefs because of their relatively large sizes (usually six inches to over three feet and shaped like a football), weird swimming behavior (like most Wrasses, they use their pectoral or “arm” fins to glide like mammals), and insanely vibrant coloration (get a psychedelic drug and imagine a green Fish. Voila, you get a Parrotfish). With teeth fused into a parrot-like beak that’s harder than gold, silver, or copper, they efficiently scrape the surfaces of Coral and rock, crushing whatever they eat into sand, which they poop out. “Parrotfish are one of the many agents of bioerosion in Coral reefs. Bioerosion combines physical and chemical erosion, plus natural reef growth. This natural process is important in maintaining the health of Coral reefs,” explains Dr. Rene Abesamis, a noted marine scientist.