From Coral Reef Foundation; On the fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar. Here we find some of the most beautiful coral reefs on the planet and I bet this is the first you’re hearing about it. The reefs in the area boast an impressive live coral cover percentage of 55% across the system. Nosy Be is home to a small community of subsistence-based fishermen and women who rely heavily on healthy reefs. In the face of oil exploration, commercial fishing, and climate change, this community has taken it upon themselves to create Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to preserve their precious habitat. It’s incredible to see a community pull together and make genuine lasting change for an ecosystem that is under such great stress, even when the government is too removed to offer much help.
What has this reef given us?
Reefs such as the ones surrounding Nosy Be are home to many different varieties of parrotfish. Probably heard of those guys, right? With nearly 100 species scattered across the globe, these gorgeous fish make quite the impact on the land surrounding coral reefs. Parrotfish are named such in part for their bird-like beaks, which they use to scrape at algae off the reef. As they scratch and bite at the reef, rock and coral comes off as rubble which when passes through the fish’s system and comes out the other end as sand. This sand gets carried by currents to the beautiful beaches on shore and gives Nosy Be – and so many places like it – their picturesque colors. So next time you’re walking along enjoying such gorgeous beaches, remember to thank the humble parrotfish and one simple, universal biological process.