‘Finding Dory,’ Not Catching Dory — Advocates Call To Protect Blue Tang Fish

While we’re enjoying Finding Dory, let the movie remind us that Dory belongs in the oceans, not in our aquariums.

Finding Dory is already becoming a much bigger blockbuster film than its predecessor, Finding Nemo, and it’s also raking in tons of good reviews from critics all around the globe.

The New York Times writes the following.

“Now Dory has her own movie, imaginatively called Finding Dory, a merchandising opportunity for Disney and a welcome end-of-the-school-year diversion for parents and children. While it may not join the top tier of Pixar features, Dory, directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, is certainly the best non-Toy Story sequel the studio has produced. That may sound like faint praise given the startling mediocrity of Monsters University and Cars 2, but what Dory lacks in dazzling originality it more than makes up for in warmth, charm and good humor.”

Certainly, Finding Dory has become an overnight success, with reports of over $136.2 million generated in its opening weekend, which is an all-time record debut for an animated film. But what people are forgetting is that Finding Dory should not lead to “Catching Dory.”

Finding Dory has raked millions of dollars in its first weekend
Finding Dory has raked millions of dollars in its first weekend [Image via Pixar]
Environment advocates are concerned that the hype over Finding Dory might follow the footsteps of Finding Nemo, which led to an increased demand for clownfish in 2003. Hakai reports the following.

“After Nemo hit the big screen, sales of orange and white striped clownfish rose by as much as 40 percent, according to some estimates. Conveniently, clownfish are simple to breed in captivity, and demand was easy to satisfy.”

However, this is not true for Dory, or the blue tang fish. Matt Ferroni, supervisor of fish and invertebrates at Camden’s Adventure Aquarium, told CNNMoney that the sales of clownfish during the time of Finding Nemo was so alarming it had an impact on the wild population. He is afraid the same thing can happen now that kids are going to ask their parents for blue tang fishes for the aquarium hobby.

While films like Finding Dory are created to increase awareness of the diversity of marine life, a lot of people, especially kids, are more likely to get enticed to buy these wild fish as aquarium pets. When this happened with Finding Nemo in 2003, a lot of hobbyists were able to breed clownfish designed to be pets instead of harvesting straight from the ocean. However, blue tang fishes, or Dorys, could not survive outside their natural habitat. The increased demand for blue tang fish as aquarium pets can greatly harm the wild marine life.

Advocates call to protect the blue tang fish (Dory) Photo by DeAgostiniGetty Images
Advocates call to protect the blue tang fish/Dory [Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images]
Craig Downs of the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in Virginia says that most common ways to capture these wild fishes like the blue tang fish is through cyanide poisoning. Nature World News explains how cyanide fishing harms the marine ecosystem.

“In cyanide fishing, crushed cyanide tablets are dissolved with sea water and sprayed directly to the reef to stun the targeted fish. The study revealed that nearly 50 percent of all nearby fish, as well as the corals, are killed immediately.

“This fishing method is an easy, but incredibly deadly and dangerous for our environment. According to WWF, cyanide kills coral polyps and algae. The poison transforms the once-booming marine ecosystems to marine deserts, as a square meter of reef gets killed for every live fish captured using this method.

“And with the reefs gone, the population of fish will dwindle, too.”

Ellen DeGeneres, voice actress of Dory in Finding Dory, has also been very vocal about her wishes for Finding Dory to become an instrument to protect the environment.

“I think that fish should be in the ocean. It’s what this whole sequel is about: It’s about rehabilitation and putting them back in the ocean. And we have to protect our oceans. Hopefully that discussion starts with this film, because we really need to protect that environment.”

Finding Dory is supposed to be a film about protecting Dory and the marine life, not about stuffing our aquariums with these beautiful wild fishes. Let us join WWF, among other marine wildlife advocates, in defending Dory.

[Image via Pixar]

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