Australian conservationists don’t seem to be looking forward to animated sequel Finding Dory as much as the rest of us, having warned that the movie (like its predecessor Finding Nemo) could encourage the over-fishing of various tropical fish to use as pets.
“What most people don’t realise is that about 90% of marine fish found in aquarium shops come from the wild,” said Saving Nemo project coordinator Carmen da Silva.
“Reef fish populations are already struggling due to warmer sea temperatures and ocean acidification caused by global warming. The last thing they need is to be plucked off reefs.”
Saving Nemo was set up over a decade ago after the release of Finding Nemo in 2003, which saw the film’s story of a clownfish searching for his son lead to a surge in demand at pet shops for the species and a corresponding drop in the coral reef population.
Since then the group has been breeding clownfish in nurseries to protect wild populations, but have concerns that sequel Finding Dory may cause even more damage due to the fact that blue tang fish (like Dory and her family) can’t be bred outside of the wild.
There may still be hope, though, with Saving Nemo currently launching a social media campaign called #fishkissfornemo to raise awareness of the issue and get Dory voice actor Ellen DeGeneres behind their cause.
Saving Nemo co-founder Anita Nedosyko concluded: “People fell in love with the adorable characters and wanted to keep them as pets, instead of understanding the film’s conservation message of keeping Nemo in the ocean where he belongs.”
Finding Dory will be released in June