After watching the 2003 Pixar movie Finding Nemo, many kids fell in love with the orange-and white clownfish. Many parents then bought kids their own “Nemo”. So many clownfishes were purchased that the number of Nemos left in wild communities dropped significantly.
With the sequel Finding Dory out, there are worries of a similar effect on Dory’s species, the blue tang.
Luckily, today, it is still possible to buy a clownfish that has been bred in captivity. However, no one has been able to do that with the blue tang which means that the blue tang has to come from the wild. To capture these fish, pet-shop fishers use cyanide. Cyanide is cheap and easy to use, but it can be deadly. Coral exposed to cyanide can bleach and die. And fish that were caught with cyanide have a higher likelihood to die within the next few weeks.
If consumers really want to buy fish (mostly coral-reef fish), it is best to buy the ones that were raised in captivity. This is because it is hard to keep up with the fast and vast living pace of the ocean in a small water tank.