[Coral-List] Feeding Fish in Coral Reefs?

Natalie Prinz natalieprinz at aol.com
Sun Apr 12 01:18:59 UTC 2020

Dear all,

Should we feed fish in coral reefs for tourism? Why do people do it and is it really necessary?

I would like to draw your attention to our new publication on ecological effects of tourist fish feeding on coral reefs, and on stakeholder perceptions of it. While fish feeding by tourists is a localized but widespread phenomenon, to date there is little information on its ecological implications. We augmented observations of food provisioning and feeding behavior with a survey of local stakeholders and tourists regarding their perception of this activity.
Predominantly piscivore-invertivores were attracted to bread feeding and the taxonomic richness decreased temporarily during feeding events. One model species (Ctenochaetus striatus), that did not feed on bread was indirectly affected in its feeding behaviour, likely by the frenzy in the water column. This indirect non-lethal ecological consequence of bread feeding contributes a previously unanticipated example relevant to the “ecology of fear” in coral reef fish. 
Surprisingly, we found that while the majority of tourism operators were of the opinion that offering fish feeding would be important for tourists, the large majority of interviewed tourists stated they did not see fish feeding as a necessary activity to enhance their tourism experience, suggesting that restrictions/bans on fish feeding would not be detrimental to tourism.

Prinz N, Story R, Lyon S, Ferse SCA and Bejarano S (2020) To Feed or Not to Feed? Coral Reef Fish Responses to Artificial Feeding and Stakeholder Perceptions in the Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands. Front. Mar. Sci. 7:145. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00145
Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00145/full <https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00145/full>

Thanks a lot,


Natalie Prinz  |  PhD student  |  Faculty of Science  |  University of Waikato 
58 Cross Road, Sulphur Point 10 | Tauranga, New Zealand
waikato.ac.nz   | np125 at students.waikato.ac.nz 

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