Delaware Public Media

Pixar's Finding Dory could be bad for Pacific Blue Tang fish

Jun 3, 2016

 


 The sequel to the animated film “Finding Nemo” could be bad news for the fish at the center of the film.

The message of “Finding Nemo” was to leave exotic fish in the wild, but that message didn’t sink in very well with audiences. There was a massive increase in demand for clownfish for home aquariums following the release of the film in 2003.

Now, conservationists are worried “Finding Dory” will spark a similar demand for that film’s lead: the Pacific Blue Tang fish, also known as a Regal Tang fish.

The good news about clownfish is that they can be bred in captivity, according to Danielle Dixson, a marine researcher at the University of Delaware who breeds fish.

But Regal Tangs can't be bred in captivity.

"There are a really small amount of marine fish we can breed in captivity. And the problem with that is that you either have a really hard time getting the fish to breed or when they’re larvae they’re so small you can’t transition them to food and you can’t transition them onto an artificial diet,” Dixson said.   

Regal Tangs can only be found in the wild, which could have a dramatic impact on the the fish’s population numbers.

More than a million clownfish are taken from the wild each year for the aquarium trade, according to the The Saving Nemo Conservation Fund.

That's why conservationists are hoping the only place you’ll be finding Dory is on the screen.