So many people including us here at the Devocean have been waiting for the sequel to Finding Nemo. Thirteen years later, our wish has been granted and Finding Dory premiers on Friday, June 17, 2016.
Back in 2003 when Finding Nemo first came out, the demand to have clown fish in home aquariums increased to an overwhelming amount. Fish stores sold out the same day they received a new batch of clown fish and more and more people wanted to buy a clown fish for their tanks as an increasing amount of people saw Finding Nemo.
This caused wild clown fish populations on coral reefs around the globe to decrease to drastically low numbers and to become extinct altogether in certain areas.
Every year the aquarium industry takes nearly 1 million clown fish from their natural habitats. In 2012, the orange clown fish was officially added to the Endangered Species List due to ocean acidification, global warming, and the aquarium trade.
However, since the release of Finding Nemo, biologists have found ways to allow wild populations of clown fish to begin to slowly thrive once again. In 2005, two years after Finding Nemo, Carmen da Silva, a marine biologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Queenland and a group of researchers started the Saving Nemo Conservation Fund. This nonprofit fish nursery breeds clownfish in captivity so that there is a lesser demand to capture them in the wild off coral reefs – and gets the same result – a clown fish for an aquarium.
While breeding clown fish in captivity has worked in Nemo’s benefit, Dory may not have the same fortunate fate.
Although the movie premier for Finding Dory is still two weeks away, the demand for blue tang has already increased. A local fish shop here in Boca Raton, Florida usually sells blue tang for $30 each. This past week their price has more than doubled and the fish are now being sold for $75 each as the demand continues to increase.
Dory’s species, blue tang, have not successfully been reproduced in captivity. Eric Cassiano, a biologist at the University of Florida’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, and a team of researchers have been trying to breed blue tang in captivity since 2012 but have not been successful in keeping the fish alive for longer than 22 days.
This means that unlike clown fish, all of the blue tangs that are sold in the aquarium fish trade, which according to Carmen da Silva is about 300,000 annually, are taken straight from the ocean.
Many scientists are concerned that the blue tang will face the same fate at the orange clown fish, which many people are calling the “Finding Nemo Effect.”
In May, the Saving Nemo Conservation Fund started a campaign called the “Million Kisses Campaign.” The campaign calls for people to post pictures of themselves doing fish kiss faces on social media and to hastag #fishkiss4Nemo. The hopes of this campaign is the get Ellen DeGeneres, the voice of Dory, to join in and help spread awareness of the aquarium industry – with the main goal to help save Nemo and Dory – in real life!
The team at Devocean is asking you to join us as we join in on this campaign. You’ll see on our social media that we are fully on board with helping to save the blue tang and clown fish populations in the wild. Post a selfie or picture with friends and family of you doing fish kiss faces and tag @SavingNemo_ and @Devotedtotheocean with your hastag #Fishkiss4Nemo to show your support in this awesome conservation effort to save Nemo and Dory!
-The Devocean Team