Finding Dory (the sequel to Finding Nemo) is here, and that’s great news for movie fans, but it could mean danger for fish. After seeing the movie, viewers might be tempted to purchase a blue tang at a pet store. But life is tragic for fish who are stolen from their homes in the wild and sold as “pets” to spend the rest of their lives in tiny bowls.
Dory is a blue tang—one of 70 species of surgeonfish who thrive in coastal waters, coral reefs, and rocky or grassy areas inshore that are six to 131 feet deep. Sounds a lot better than a tank, yes?
Almost all saltwater fish sold in stores are captured in their homes in the wild—just as Nemo was caught in Finding Nemo. Fish collectors spray coral reefs with a poison called cyanide, and the fish end up stunned, which makes them easy to catch.
Half of the fish who are poisoned die on the reef, and many others die before they reach an aquarium.
Other animals like orcas live miserably at marine parks such as SeaWorld. These parks force intelligent orcas, who swim up to 100 miles a day in the open ocean, to live in tiny tanks, which, to them, are the size of a bathtub. Because of this, they can become aggressive and have even been known to chew on the metal gates and concrete corners of tanks and damage their teeth.
Read more about why fish make unhappy “pets,” and remember: Never buy a fish (or any animal) from a pet store—and ask your friends and family not to, either.