Mola mola is part of the molidae family, and it’s the 2nd largest bony fish species. Adult mola mola is usually 1.8m long from head to tail and about 2.5m long from fin to fin. Even though mola mola have a big size, they actually are harmless to humans, you can safely dive near the fish. Mola mola mostly eat plankton, small fishes and jellyfish, so you dont have to be afraid around them. Currently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed mola mola as “Vulnerable” because they can easily get in trouble if they mistakenly eat plastic bag instead of jellyfish. Mola mola are endangered mostly by bycatch, because they can be catched by mistake when fishermen try to catch other fish.
Where can you find mola mola in Bali?
If you want the best experience of seeing the mola mola, you have to go diving into the open sea. Because mola mola is hard to be kept at an aquarium because the size of the fish is really big. If you’re set on diving with mola mola, you can find them across south-east coast of Bali, in the Lombok Strait, and especially on the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. They are most commonly seen alone or in groups of two or three. They can be found at depths ranging from 6 meters to 65 meters.
What’s the best time to see the mola mola?
Mola mola actually live at seas near bali all year round, but it lives on the deep seas so we cant see them. They usually move to the surface when the sea temperature is colder, usually in around July to November. With a little luck, we can occasionally encounter ten on the same dive on the same site in this area.
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How to safely encounter mola mola when diving
If you want to look at mola mola when they are in the cleaning station there is a code of conduct that everyone has to follow. Previously, overly aggressive divers on Nusa Lembongan / Nusa Penida repeatedly evicted sunfish from their cleaning stations during October 2004 and August 2005. Sunfish spent far less time near the coast as a result of these interactions, and divers saw many fewer sightings as a result. This cleaning process is important for the survival of the mola mola, that’s because their body is full of parasites. That’s why mola mola came to the cleaning station. To get their body cleaned by the hungry angelfish that’s eating the parasites that live in the body of the mola mola.
If you want to have a experience diving to meet the mola – mola while you’re in bali, it’s best for you go with a diving center that respect the code of conduct.