DON’T FEED THE FISH ON SNORKELING & DIVING

Phu Quoc Clownfish - Phu Quoc Anemone fish - Phu Quoc snorkeling - diving sites

The fish keep the growth of the algae on coral reefs under control so that the reefs aren’t smothered. By feeding fish their behaviour is modified so that they no longer graze on the harmful algae that need to be removed from the reef, the algae may become overgrown. A sad situation in Phu Quoc in particular is that many tours allow guests to feed fish for fun, for a better understanding of sustainable travel, we list out some harmful reasons for fish feeding and why we should not feed the fish.

Coral garden at the Coral Jungle Reef, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
The Coral Garden at the Coral Jungle Reef, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam. Coral Reefs are home to young fish

 

1. FISH-FEEDING CAN LEAD TO ALGAE SMOTHERING THE CORAL

One of the greatest threats to coral reefs in Phu Quoc in particular now is the invasion of harmful algae to the coral reefs. The numerous daily tourists ignorant snorkelers, and divers that feed the fish are truly impacting on the ecological balance in the coral reefs of Phu Quoc Island.
Algae might not sound like the tastiest snack to us, but it’s a staple meal for many fish. By eating algae, fish aren’t only keeping their natural diets in check but also providing a gardening service by controlling algae growth. This means that if the fish find their food elsewhere (i.e. from humans), the algae on the reef could start to grow out of control; smothering and covering the coral and causing it to suffocate and die from lack of food provided by the photosynthetic algae (Zooxanthellae).

 

2. IT LEAVES NESTS VULNERABLE TO PREDATORS

If you’ve ever seen a diver or snorkeller feed the fish, you’ll know it can stir up a frenzy! Fish will rush to the food source, competing with one another to gorge on as much as they can. But when species that are usually solitary demonstrate this kind of group predatory behaviour, it leaves nests unguarded and vulnerable to predators.

 

3. FISH CAN LEAD TO STARVATION

This might sound a little weird but feeding fish could result in them starving to death. This is because most marine animals have a pretty specific range of digestive bacteria. When they’re fed the wrong kind of food (like bread, or pork…), it can lead to the wrong type of bacteria becoming dominant in their stomachs. This could result in the fish no longer being able to digest their natural food and starving to death.

 

4. CROWN-OF-THORNS CAN GROW OUT OF CONTROL

The Crown-of-Thorns starfish is a sea star named for the spines that cover its body and arms. These guys are well-known coral predators. Any diver who’s witnessed their path of destruction will know just how harmful they can be to coral reefs if population numbers get out of control.

Normally, pesky Crown-of-Thorns starfish are kept under control by fish who unwittingly eat their eggs while grazing on algae. But when these fish are fed by humans, they no longer need to graze on the algae. This allows predator populations to increase, causing serious damage to the reef.

 

5. IT DISRUPTS THE BALANCE OF THE ECOSYSTEM

Lettuce coral garden at Half-moon coral Reef, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam Snorkeling & Diving
The fish species at the reef have the effect of cleaning and improving the coral reef, helping the coral grow healthy

Coral reefs in Phu Quoc are witnessing a strong invasion of algae, so snorkelers and divers need to be equipped with sustainable tourism information or at least minimize any impact on the environment. sea. In the sustainable snorkeling experiences that OnBird organizes, fish feeding is completely prohibited no matter how little or how much impact.

Keep the growth of the algae on coral reefs under control so that the reefs aren’t smothered. By feeding fish their behaviour is modified so that they no longer graze on the harmful algae that need to be removed from the reef, the algae may become overgrown