A fascinating article was recently published by The Huffington Post regarding the increase in Clownfish demand for fish tank owners and collectors after the 2003 hit Finding Nemo made audiences fall in love with, well, Nemo! Australian scientists predict that in the wake of Finding Dory's release in just less than a month, a similar pattern will occur with fish collectors and children who presumably will want to own their very own Nemo (Clownfish) or Dory (Blue Tang). The problem? Clownfish and Blue Tang's are at serious risk of species endangerment! We're using this post to educate and (hopefully!) help save these at-risk species. Read more after the break!
It is not very often that we are able to use a platform such as an entertainment blog to inspire social change. However, with the eminent release of Finding Dory on June 17th, we feel this is the perfect opportunity for those anticipating the new Pixar film to hopefully help these at-risk species.
Excerpts from The Huffington Post Article:
In the weeks after the 2003 release of 'Finding Nemo', aquarium fish sellers noticed clown fish were suddenly the star of the tank. "Clown fish sales skyrocketed," University of Queensland school of biological sciences PhD candidate Carmen da Silva told The Huffington Post Australia."I think a lot of people fell in love with the character Nemo and they wanted one for their aquarium. There's nothing wrong with owning a marine fish in an aquarium but I think a lot of people didn't realise 90 percent of clown fish sold are taken from the wild."
This demand pushed an already threatened species to the brink, and Flinders University Faculty of Science associate dean Karen Burke da Silva said it had devastating consequences. "We're seeing local extinction in areas where they're collected," Burke da Silva told HuffPost Australia. "In places like Thailand and Indonesia and the Philippines they are collected using cyanide poisoning. A bit of cyanide in low concentrations is squirted on the coral area you want to collect fish from and it acts as a bit of an anesthetic."
In Australia, clown fish can be legally collected from parts of the Great Barrier Reef and Burke da Silva said that while there weren't areas of localised extinction, numbers were certainly down due to the wild fish trade and climate change. "Clown fish are impacted by coral bleaching and warming sea temperatures because anemones become bleached in pretty much the same way as corals. Then there's new research from the University of Queensland that shows ocean acidification also affects clown fish larvae. It stops them from being able to smell an anemone, which they need to settle into once they become juveniles."
Even more so, Blue Tang's are at even greater risk because they are harder to breed in captivity. Blue Tang's spawn their eggs by releasing them in the open ocean, making breeding in captivity that much harder.
While their is not as clear an answer for helping save Blue Tang's, their are several ways that you can help:
Let's use our enthusiasm for Finding Dory to help SAVE Nemo and Dory!
"If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life."