Investigation Underway Into Killing Of Parrotfish

November 23, 2020

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR] is investigating a recent incident involving protected parrotfish at the east end of the island.

A Government spokesperson said, “Parrotfish have been legally protected since 1993 and it is an offence under the Fisheries Act 1972 to take, kill and/or sell parrotfish, with a penalty of up to a $50,000 fine and two years’ imprisonment.”

Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban expressed his outrage at this latest killing of a protected species, saying: “I am very disappointed and distressed about this – it is wrong and illegal. I will be looking at increasing the penalties for the killing of any protected species, like parrotfish, and urge anyone with information about the person[s] responsible to come forward.”

DENR Director Drew Pettit reiterated the important role that parrotfish play in our fragile marine ecosystem, saying: “Parrotfishes are a diverse group of primarily herbivorous fishes, and 14 different types are known to occur in Bermuda. The name comes from their bright colours and because their teeth are fused together and look like a parrot’s beak.

“Most parrotfishes live on coral reefs, where they eat seaweed. Their feeding helps to keep the reef clean, ensuring that corals are not smothered by seaweed and that there is room for new coral larvae to attach.

“This allows our reefs to stay healthy and grow, providing habitat for other fish and invertebrates. As they graze, parrotfish also consume rock and dead coral, which is ground up and excreted as sand. A large parrotfish can produce hundreds of pounds of sand per year, which helps to build our world famous beaches.”

“Given the possibility that these parrotfish may have been caught to sell, DENR take this opportunity to also remind members of the public that they should only purchase fish from a licensed commercial fisherman, who should provide a valid fisheries photo ID that indicates that they have the approval to sell fish.

“Should anyone see suspicious fishing activity, report it as soon as possible to the Fisheries Wardens at 535-4615, the Bermuda Coast Guard at 294-0610, or the Bermuda Police Service at 211. Timely reporting is critical to assisting with a successful prosecution.”

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Comments (9)

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  1. Mark says:

    Probably someone getting a jump start on Minister Cornel Burch’s shoreside Fisheries plan.

    • Wahoo says:

      Eating fish more than twice a month increases mercury levels in humans to unsafe levels. Parot fish are particularly high in mercury.

  2. sage says:

    Parrotfish scrape the algae, not seaweed, that would otherwise smother the reefs if they weren’t around with their beak like teeth the undigested particles of scraped reef is where our sand comes from. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  3. What about says:

    What about the guys who caught all dem rockfish? They ever get charged?

  4. Bill says:

    A few months ago 3 guys were spearfishing around Fort St Cathrine reefs around dusk. Police were called about the incident but didn’t show. So what’s the “real” plan to catch people when caught in the act? Since the people who are “paid” by taxpayers and suppose to deal with it don’t.

    • Dread says:

      And if the police arrived, what were they to do, take off their uniforms and go swimming after them?

      • Bill says:

        Well for 1. maybe at least show up. 2. Since it was dusk the guys were probably going to be heading into shore soon with their catch. Wait to catch them while coming out of the water 3. Involve the fisheries with a boat. This is my point you have laws in place and paid positions to enforce it. It is frustrating when you see something illegal happening, make an effort to get the right people involved and nothing happens. Should you go vigilantly and do it yourself??? It might have to come to it.

  5. Ditto…good catch…the pink in the sand is produced by parrot fish and the pink shell crustation they ingest….seaweed? Hmmmm…
    I have always said; “You don’t approach a bull from the front”…”a mule from behind”…”or a fool from any direction”…
    I have had kelp on Japanese rice candy.

  6. Chow Main says:

    How about the government do something about the Chinese fishing boats which are destroying atlantic fish populations. it is very hush in Bermuda news, but around the world people hearing about it. Draining the Atlantic dry.