‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Finding Dory’ Have Adverse Effects in Tropical Fish Populations
Entertainment| | By Lauren Boudreau
Even though the beloved children’s film Finding Nemo advocates for the conservation of our oceans and marine life, the University of Queensland and Flinders University warn that studies since 2003 (when Finding Nemo was released) report that clownfish populations, along with many others, have been declining ever since, and researchers are worried that Finding Dory, in theaters on June 17, will only make things worse.
“In one year alone, 2012, over 400,000 clownfish were imported to America. It was the fifth most imported species to America,” Karen Burke da Silva, Flinders University associate Professor said, according to ABC Science.
What people don’t realize is that most fish bought in pet stores are captured from the wild.
Burke da Silva is one of the co-founders of The Saving Nemo Conservation Fund, which aims “to provide education, awareness and captive breeding programs to protect popular marine ornamental species that are often captured on reefs for sale in pet shops,” according to University of Queensland news.
While clown fish are easy to breed in captivity – something that has helped their numbers – many other coral reef fish that are captured are not, like Dory’s breed, the blue tang fish, which is unable to reproduce in captivity at all.
Burke da Silva said she thinks Finding Dory also has a strong conservation message and that she hopes the public takes that message seriously.
“Fish in the wild are going through enough problems, due to global warming and coral bleaching, so the worst thing we can do is add to that by taking huge numbers of them from the wild,” she said.
The team hopes to catch the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who voices Dory, to spread their message. They also created the hashtag #fishkiss4nemo and hope to reach one million “fish kisses” across social media.
“What we mostly want to achieve is an awareness about where the fish come from and the fact that ornamental fish are being taken from the wild and 100 percent of blue tang fish are caught in the wild,” she said.