Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory, sequel to Finding Nemo, was released into theaters this summer. The movie is charismatic and has been advertised as a sequel that surpasses the original.
Proceeding Finding Nemo, the demand for clownfish increased.
According to a Center for Biological Diversity report Blue Tang cannot be bred in captivity, each sold has to be captured in the wild. To be captured, the reefs are sprayed with cyanide to stun the Blue Tang. During this process, “many shrimps, crabs, mollusks, and other invertebrates are killed in the vicinity of the cyanide that’s squirted on the reefs”. Cyanide “immediately forms a lethal cloud that easily spreads down the reef — stunning, damaging or killing everything it comes into contact with.”
This catch/sell method is affecting more than just Blue Tang. “6 million tropical marine fish imported into the United States each year have been exposed to cyanide poisoning,” Center for Biological Diversity reveals.
The impacts of cyanide fishing can be better understood once percentages, rates, and numbers are released. The report states that most marine fish (95-99%) for sale are captured in the wild. “80 percent of all fish are collected from three countries: the Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka” and “the United States buys up to 80 percent of all tropical aquarium fish on the global market, distantly followed by Europe and Japan”.
“From 2005 to 2015, U.S. imports of marine aquarium fish averaged more than 12 million per year,” The Center for Biological Diversity states.
Marine aquarium trade has had negative connotations on the quality of reefs and natural habitat for aquatic life that are touched by cyanide.
Experts on this issue encourage viewers of Finding Dory to find "Dory", but not to purchase her. With a raised awareness for an issue that is rapidly destroying reefs and marine wildlife, demand for these fish may decline and fewer creatures and habitats will be destroyed.
Blue Tang: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paracanthurus-hepatus-paletten-doktorfisch.jp
Coral Reef: https://pixabay.com/en/coral-coral-reef-reef-sea-567688/
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