[Coral-List] Parrot Fish deaths

diannewilson dianne at vincysurf.com
Wed Jul 16 17:59:58 EDT 2003

Dear Coral List;

    I live on a small island in the Eastern Caribbean within the Grenadines.  As a dive instructor, I am on the reefs daily.  After 9 days of heavy rain, high seas and winds, the sun and flat seas have returned.  When the weather cleared, what appear to be Stop Light Parrot fish began to wash up on the beach of a sandy bay.  This bay has little to no coral, so they must have been coming from farther out.  In the small teaching area which has several small coral heads, I found 4 dead parrot fish laying on the bottom, all the same species.  There were no apparent injuries.  No other kind of fish have been found dead.  

The only other anomaly is we are sighting sting rays, usually rare, but we have seen several since the storm.  I can't see how this could affect the parrot fish.  I know parrot fish munch coral for the algae.  Could there have been some run off from the island because of the heavy rain, that has introduced a toxin to the coral?  

Our coral is generally very healthy.  We have good populations of reef fish, urchins (white and black) and many varieties of coral.  We have some unusual algae in pockets, though it is not wide spread. We are dealing with what we think are the apparent causes of this stringy algae.  Environmental products are in wide use on the island, and we are on our way to a successful phosphate ban.  It is voluntary so use of phosphates are getting more rare.  We are not seeing any black band or bleaching.

Can anyone offer a suggestion as to why we are seeing dead parrot fish, and if there is anything we have done that we could prevent in the future.

Many thanks.

Dianne Wilson
St Vincent
West Indies

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