When visiting the Great Barrier Reef on board Passions of Paradise, many visitors are surprised about the sheer number and size of some of the reef fish. Circling the vessel at our Michaelmas Cay site are some of the most famous, awe-inspiring fish anyone can see on the reef: The Giant Trevally. These large fish are known as apex predators, meaning that they have no natural predators of their own. While they may seem to be the perfect meal for a large shark, their speed enables them a quick getaway when confronted with those massive jaws and teeth.
During the fish feed, held daily at Michaelmas Cay, passengers can marvel at just how fast the Giant Trevally can move through the water. Our fish feeders feed the fish from the side of the vessel, and to some, it may seem that the Giant Trevally know where the food will land before its hit the water. This isn’t some sort of mutant fish superpower; in reality, the eyes of the Giant Trevally are situated closer to the top of the head than most fish. As a super-fast ambush predator, the Giant Trevally are able to see the motion of the food as it falls, and are able to calculate the trajectory and snatch up the food right as it hits the surface.
In addition to the fish feed, passengers can encounter the Giant Trevally off the back of the boat by snorkelling or scuba diving. While these fish usually pretty harmless, it is best to approach them with a bit of caution, as they can be excited due to the expectation of food hitting the water. Giant Trevally will usually approach and investigate swimmers and snorkelers, but their curious nature is more due to their constant search for food, rather than trying to be social or posing for photos. Likewise, scuba divers are often able to swim under the boat, and see the Giant Trevally slowly swimming, hoping for a morsel to be dropped in the water.
So while watching the fish feed, make sure you have your camera on its action setting, as these fish can move so fast that getting a decent picture may prove difficult. Remember that fish feeding on any vessel comes with certain guidelines set by the Marine Park Authority. For example, only approved raw products are allowed to be fed to the fish, so please avoid trying to feed them any human food; tempting though it may be, human food such as bread can cause serious problems for the animals digestion, and may also make them dependent on these handouts, as opposed to naturally finding food.
Remember: We have one reef. Let’s take care of it!
Image by Christian Miller, Cuckoo Crew Productions