Australian scientists are worried about the upcoming Pixar film Finding Dory. It’s a sequel to the massively popular 2003 film Finding Nemo, which starred a plucky young clown fish and his neurotic, over-protective father—thrust into a whirlwind adventure across the sea.
But even as people fell in love with the story of a father trying to rescue his son from life in a dingy aquarium, many of them went out and bought clown fish to keep in their home aquarium. This caused a severe drop in wild clownfish populations, due to the fact that many clown fish sold in commercial markets (up to 90%) are captured from the wild.
“Clown fish sales skyrocketed,” said University of Queensland PhD candidate Carmen da Silva.
“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.”
Fearing a repeat of the catastrophic population dip, Australian conservationists have set up a captive breeding program, one that will keep up with clown fish demand without harming their wild population numbers.
The specially bred clown fish will be raised in captivity and be better-adjusted for life in a home aquarium.
To spread the word, the Saving Nemo foundation has launched #FishKiss4Nemo, asking people who care about clown fish populations to make a fish kiss face and share it on social media.
You may also enjoy: