Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hand feeding wild fish

One activity here that is lots of fun is to hand feed the wild fish at Doctor's Gully. This is walking distance from my home.

Years ago a man, Doctor Atkinson, hand fed a couple of fish at the beach where he lived. The next day they came again and he repeated the feeding. So it grew.

When I came here to live in the 1970s fish feeding was well established at Doctor's Gully and it was free. A local family bought the site, improved the facilities, and established a small business called Aquascene. The fish come only at high tide so Aquascene  is only open then.

Fish feeding sounds boring but it is definitely not. The idea is to stand in the water and the fish just come along and eat bread from your hand. Most people stand in the water for a while and the fish will swim around you. Young and old, tourists and locals. You can sit and watch. You can throw bread into the water and watch what happens. I have taken most house guests there at some time and our children went there many times. Stale bread arrives from various bakeries around town and this is freely available to the customers. The owners provide a commentary about which fish are there, the tides, the history and anything else the audience asks. I have seen many species there including mullet, catfish, garfish, rays, turtles, mud skippers, and milk fish. For some unknown reason the crocs never come. Perhaps they wait a little further out and grab a passing meal.

Here is the website about this place.
This is not a paid advertisement. I know some people who read this blog are stuck inside because of the ice and snow, so this piece of tropical life will hopefully give them a warm hug.


  1. What a lovely idea, Louise... everyone should have an opportunity to touch and feed these beautiful creatures. It is unfortunate that many folk only see fish on their plates (and perhaps would only wish to).

  2. I agree with you that to touch and feel a fish behaving naturally is definitely worthwhile.
    On the other hand I also acknowledge that eating bread is not a natural behaviour and I trust that these fish are eating plenty of their real food. They must do so or they would not thrive and grow so big.
    Also I have some minor concerns about transferring microbial life from humans to fish that could be harmful. It appears that this is not occurring in this case. I know that this does occur with some other species in other locations, as in fish farms.
    I believe that the key at Aquascene is that the fish remain wild and free. If you ever get the opportunity to feed wild fish then I hope it is just as enjoyable for you as it is for the visitors to Doctor's Gully.


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