Nature Seychelles Chief Executive Dr Nirmal Shah has said that the practice of feeding fish in Seychelles should be discouraged because studies have shown that fish feeding - especially in marine protected areas or small areas lie reefs where fish are sedentary - have dramatic negative impacts. Dr. Shah says while the problem is dwarfed by other bigger issues such as over-fishing, it is nonetheless important that everyone takes action, no matter how small, to protect Seychelles marine resources.
Fish feeding (Photo via Trip Advisor)
Fish feeding leads to the fish becoming conditioned to feeding, which interferes with their natural feeding cycles; it makes them more vulnerable to predators especially during feeding frenzies; and it affects the natural cycle in their environment as fish stop feeding on what they would normally eat like algae. Feeding fish also doesn't fully meet their nutrient requirements.
Dr. Shah made these observations in an article published by TODAY in Seychelles on 19 December 2019. The Newspaper sought Dr. Shah's comments with regards to an announcement made by local Destination Management Company, Creole Travel Services that it would be ceasing all such feeding activities. "In Seychelles, it was deemed normal to encourage visitors to feed the wild, tropical fish at the national marine parks with pieces of bread or pellets, drawing them closer to the boats or swimmers for a more interactive experience," the DMC says according to the article. "However, studies have shown that this has resulted in detrimental changes in the animals' behaviours. As such, Creole will no longer include fish feeding as part of our excursions brand."
Countries like such as Egypt have banned fish feeding during diving. Though the Seychelles government does not have a legal framework for this, private sector initiatives such as Creole's, as well as voluntary action from individuals, can go a long way, the article says.