Saturday, March 9, 2013

Newsflash 2: Many Finding Nemo Species Endangered.

Now for something completely different but nonetheless heartbreaking: A lot of the species in  Finding Nemo are in danger of going extinct. Scientific American put out this little tidbit in 2011:

"One in every six species related to characters in the movie Finding Nemo is threatened by extinction, according to a new study out today. The authors examined the extinction risk of 1,568 species within 16 families of well-known marine animals represented in the 2003 Academy Award-winning animated film.

All species of marine turtles (“Squirt” and “Crush”) and more than half of all hammerhead sharks (“Anchor”), mackerel sharks (“Bruce” and “Chum”), and eagle rays (“Mr. Ray”) are threatened. Seahorses (“Sheldon”) are the most threatened group of bony fish in Finding Nemo, with two in five species at risk of extinction. Clownfish aren’t safe now, either, and they certainly weren’t in 2003 after the film’s release when local RotoRooter dispatch centers received calls from families whose kids flushed the fish after watching the movie. Charisma, in other words, is not enough. Despite a demonstrated need for conservation action, regulation of trade in endangered marine species is severely deficient for those with high economic value, like sharks."

- Source. 

So even though the film reeeeeaaaalllly pushed "kids, don't snag fish straight from the reef," a bunch of kids went and did it because NEMO! Yes, clownfish are adorable. No, one should not go all the way out to the reef to get one of a kid who has not kept anything beyond a goldfish. Aquariums are complex, difficult to maintain systems, with saltwater (as Nemo's would be) being even harder than fresh. Not cool.

It also really doesn't help that Australia has been hit hardest by global climate change. Much of the Great Barrier Reef is suffering from bleaching - not tossing bleach in there, but a strange whitening of the coral. It's pretty much the equivalent of chopping down an underwater rainforest.Yeah, that pretty reef in the movie won't be around much longer.

Remember, do your homework when buying exotic fish. Buy captive-bred only. The reef's suffering enough; harvesting is the last thing it needs.

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