‘Finding Dory’ Ecological Disaster Fears Raised

Finding Dory, the very long-awaited sequel to 2003 hit Finding Nemo, will be officially released in theaters on November 25, 2015, according to Tuesday’s announcement from Disney. And Ellen DeGeneres is now signed on to reprise her popular role as the extremely forgetful blue tang Dory.

So far, so good for movie fans. But animal lovers are experiencing some mixed feelings about the project.

Will Finding Dory be good or bad for the fish that give the movies their “cute” appeal?

Movie Talk’s Meriah Doty pointed out that, in the wake of the release of Finding Nemo, many people ran out to buy the Nemo-like clownfish for pets, even though they weren’t knowledgeable enough to take care of them. She also said that some people set free the fish they already had, either by dumping them in the ocean or by flushing them down the toilet.

And that isn’t good at all.

While regal blue tangs like Dory are absolutely beautiful, it isn’t a pet that’s right for beginner aquarium keepers. On the Right Pet website where hobbyists discuss their pets, site owner Brett Hodges has noted that the species can be prone to ich, a common but hard-to-combat fish disease.

Hobbyists have left reviews with comments like “extremely prone to ick and parasitic diseases like white spot” and “VERY disease prone.”

Are you starting to get the picture? This species is not a toy that should be purchased on impulse. Rather, it’s a beautiful specimen that demands experienced aquarium keepers who know what they’re doing.

And flushing the fish because you think it will survive better in the wild is an absolutely terrible idea. Exotic aquarium fish that somehow escape into the open ocean are creating an unseen invasive species crisis that disrupts the natural ecosystem.

An NBC report said that 13 species have already escaped into California waters, with two-thirds of them successfully establishing themselves to compete with the state’s native species. University of California at Davis professor Susan Williams told NBC that aquarium fish were particularly powerful invasives because, “they have to be so hardy to be able to survive the [pet] trade.”

Finding Dory will undoubtedly be a must-see movie. But what I, for one, would also like to see is some tiny cut of the profits going back to protecting fish.

[blue tang ‘Finding Dory’ fish species photo by Tewy via Wikipedia Commons]