Finding Dory Has Activists Worried About Pet Fish Sales
Animal rights activists and conservationists are begging parents to not rush out and buy blue tang fish for their kids after seeing Disney Pixar's latest animated blockbuster Finding Dory.
Activists and the Humane Society have seen the scenario play out several times before. When Finding Nemo hit theatres in 2003, there was a run on clownfish, the bright orange star of the hit animated movie.
The Canadian Humane Society then pleaded with people to not "buy a guinea pig on impulse" after watching Disney's GForce back in 2009.
"Earlier Disney movies like 101 Dalmatians and Snow Dogs created a fad where people went out and bought Dalmatians and Siberian Huskies which were later turned over to shelters and rescue groups when people found out how much care they needed," the society said in a news release back then.
"Another movie, Finding Nemo, caused families to rush out and buy pet clownfish, a saltwater species that requires special care."
Now, blue tangs are the subject of news releases and social media campaigns.
An online poster is making the rounds on Facebook
More than 1 million fish from the clownfish family are taken from the reef every year for the aquarium trade, according to the Saving Nemo Foundation.
In some areas they are now going extinct from overcollection and coral bleaching, the foundation said.
The good news is that clownfish breed easily in nurseries. The bad news is that regal blue tangs don't.
The foundation said 100 per cent of all pet blue tangs are still being taken from the wild.
"On one hand we've been told that the film has an even stronger conservation message," Karen Burke da Silva told CBC's As It Happens earlier this year. "But the bigger concern is that at the moment the Blue Tang is not being bred in captivity. So 100 per cent of those fish, that species, have been taken from the wild."
According to final studio figures Monday, Finding Dory took in nearly $73 million US over the weekend, bringing its twoweek American haul to $286.3 million US.
"We are already seeing a troublesome increase in the number of blue tangs offered for sale to unknowing consumers," Rene Umberger of For the Fishes said in a news release issued by Humane Society International.
"Finding Nemo created appreciation for the diversity of marine life and prompted many people to realize the negative impact of keeping wildcaught aquarium fish," Teresa Telecky, director of wildlife for Humane Society International, said in a statement earlier this month. "Sadly, it also had the effect of prompting some consumers to purchase animals they are illequipped to care for.
"In the case of wildcaught marine animals, the majority of these creatures live only a fraction of their natural lives if they are kept in a home aquarium, if they survive being captured and transported."
Corbret's Pet Shop in Windsor, Ont., sells between 3050 blue tangs every month. Clownfish remain some of the most popular species, though.
'Everybody wants a Dory'
"A lot of the clownfish we get are bred in captivity, raised right in Windsor, Ont. So, importation of clownfish, you don't have to do much anymore," store manager Cory Drouillard said.
It's currently advertising blue tangs for sale on the free classified site Kijiji.
Drouillard hasn't seen the movie, but he's certainly familiar with the characters.
"It's huge. With any Disney movie, as soon as something like that comes out, everyone has a dream and goal to get this type of fish," Drouillard said of the phenomenon. "Everybody wants a Jacques (the shrimp), everybody wants a Dory."
Drouillard said his store educates people on what exactly blue tangs and clownfish need in captivity. For example, it takes weeks just to get the tank right.
"Do think hard about it," Drouillard asked of people considering a blue tang purchase.
Not 'an impulse buy'
Disney is cognizant of the possibility kids and parents may want to own a Nemo or Dory of their own.
So, it published its own guidelines designed to help people select the right fish.
"Pets should never be an impulse buy as they will be a part of your family for years to come and require a commitment to provide lifelong care," the company said in a downloadable statement posted on the film's official website.
Source : CBC News