One of my pet hates in the Whitsundays is seeing people feed bread to the fish. I see it all the time, particularly at Manta Ray Bay, Luncheon Bay and Blue Pearl Bay.
In Manta Ray Bay we have several large fish that swim up to the back of the boat. George, our big Humphead Maori Wrasse, is joined by Trevor, Sylvie, Spike and Sylvia the Giant Trevallies. They come to the back of the boat as they are so used to being fed. Along with them is the hundreds of Yellow tail Fusiliers. However this is all you see, you don’t see any other fish anymore.
Bread contains yeast and when eaten by fish, it will expand and can cause constipation for most fish. The most resilient fish will survive however others will disappear as they suffer and the predators take them. People feeding the fish think it is amazing to see so many fish so close but if they look at the big picture, they would realise the damage they are causing.
Some people feed them pellets and this is a better option however fish need to be left to their own devices. They’ll be there in greater species as long as we leave them alone.
I heard a report from a guy from Maritime Safety Queensland yesterday saying that Fantasea’s pontoon on the reef here has only these three breeds of fish in any numbers. O.K the guests love the numbers of these fish but they aren’t seeing the real reef. The alternative is at Cruise Whitsunday’s pontoon where they still have the big number of species but even this is not the way the reef is meant to be. I challenge anyone to go even 1nm down the reef and see what the real reef is like where humans have not interacted. It is brighter in color and the species of fish are amazing.
We boast 1500 species of fish in the Great Barrier Reef yet most people will see less than 10. If we leave them to their own devices and stop feeding them, hopefully the species that have disappeared will return.
So if you see someone feeding bread to fish, please so us all a favour and ask them to stop doing it. Even better explain why.