Certain scientists feel that the release of Pixar’s “Finding Dory” could trigger a rush for buying exotic marine fishes like the blue tang fish or Dory voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, which could lead to the decline of the species’ population in the oceans. Brisbane Times points out that when Andrew Stanton’s “Finding Nemo” released back in 2003, clownfish populations declined. People wanted to have their own pet Nemo inside their home aquariums. This is ironic considering the fact that the movie emphasises that these wild fish desire freedom, not bondage.
“I was shocked by how many people came in to get clownfish when that movie was released,” Marine biologist and co-founder of Saving Nemo, Anita Nedosyko said. “There was a 30 percent increase and the concern for us is that we are going to start seeing a resurgence in popularity for that population with not just clownfish but also ‘Dory,’ the regal blue tang,” she said about the probable impact of the release of “Finding Dory.”
The Saving Nemo website notes that “A decade after the film [“Finding Nemo”], clownfish continue to be highly sought-after and marine biologists are now discovering that in areas like the Great Barrier Reef and the Philippines where they are being collected, wild populations are declining. Yep, that is right, we can’t find Nemo on some reefs anymore.”
Nedosyko also said that the clownfish are already facing danger due to the warming of ocean waters and ocean acidification, which is damaging the coral reefs where the fishes thrive. The team of scientists at the Saving Nemo foundation is creating breeding programs inside nurseries to help increase the declining population numbers and also educate others about the need to conserve the fishes in the oceans. “Understanding how we can get these fish to be bred in the nursery rather than being taken from the wild would have a real impact and could change consumer perceptions and ideas,” Nedosyko said.
“The regal blue tang are more susceptible to having their numbers reduced from the release of the movie,” Nedosyko said about “Finding Dory.” This is because “They are fully taken from the wild, there are no captive breeding programs.” She added that the blue tang fishes are “very vulnerable in aquarium environments” because “they need algae and that is not easy to replicate with fish pellets and are prone to disease.”
Nedosyko knows that people will inevitably rush to buy their own Dorys but she wants to educate aquarium store owners about the fishes. Hopefully, the filmmakers and Ellen DeGeneres would be responsible enough to address this situation as well.