‘Fish are Friends Not Food’ – Nor Toys

Cecilia Hernandez, Production Staff

‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…’

If you grew up watching Disney’s animated films like I did, “Finding Nemo” could have been on your top five best-Disney-film list, along with “The Lion King”, “Toy Story”, and many of the Disney’s Princess films.  Little eight year-old me remembers watching “Finding Nemo” in 2003 with my classmates and Mom during my elementary school’s frequent Movie Nights. I adored rebellious and lovable Nemo, but never did I try to own a clown fish, especially if it meant causing irreversible damage to its native habitat.

In preparation for Disney’s upcoming continuation of the 2003 hit, animal protection and conservative groups are urging consumers not to buy Dory – a.k.a the Blue Tang. According to The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, Center for Biological Diversity, and For the Fishes, the presumed popularity of Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Dory” — which was released on June 17 — will cause an increase in the interest for capturing the wild Blue Tang. However, unlike the clown fish which were purchased in large amounts following the “Finding Nemo” movie, the Blue Tangs have not been successfully bred for captivity (according to humanesociety.org). The Blue Tangs are sold as one to two inch fishes, but they are capable of reaching 12 inches as adults. A home aquarium would have to be a minimum of 180 gallons, making the tank about the size of a small sofa –or three times larger than the average home aquarium.

The sheer size of the tank needed to meet the Blue Tang’s minimal needs would scare off most parents. For those people able to house a big enough tank, the Blue Tang should still not be sought after for purchase simply because the process of capturing wild fishes causes irreversible damage to the environment. The Blue Tangs, along with other wild animals, are primarily from the coral reefs in the Philippines and Indonesia. Cyanide is often used in the process, which kills coral and other animals. Due to the fishes’ complex needs that are not met in home aquariums, high mortality rates are a direct result. People literally love their fishes to death.

Blue Tangs feed on marine algae; they need a lot of space for swimming since they are very active, and are aggressive to other pacific blue if the tank is not big enough for them all. One thing to note that saddens me most of all, is that they only live a fraction of their usual lifetime in aquariums. They die shortly after being captured.

In my perspective, even if you meet all of the above minimal needs, we should still not get Blue Tangs. Why destroy more coral reefs, damage their ecosystems, and have these fishes live a fraction of their usual lifetime, just to own them–just to possess them?

“But, mommy, I want one!” would be what toddlers, and other humans, would say in their defense—yet that’s not a logical reason enough to cause so much damage to the fish and to the environment.  Sorry, kids.