Well, the day that everyone has been waiting for, for literally years has arrived - Disney Pixar's Finding Dory will soon hit theaters!
Now, based on the trailers, it looks like Finding Dory has a pretty strong anti-captivity message, which we are grateful for. As dive instructors and conservationists (the two should really go hand in hand), it pains us to see animals that don't do well in captivity, like whalesharks and dolphins, held in a confined space. While some aquariums work hard to educate the public and are picky about the animals that they keep in captivity, a great deal are not and will capture anything that brings in customers and money.
So before you watch Finding Dory and get caught up in the Blue Tang hullabaloo, please remember that Blue Tangs belong in the ocean, not in your personal aquarium. Just like Clownfish sales spiked after Finding Nemo came out, the animals featured in Finding Dory, especially the Blue Tang, will be in higher demand. The biggest difference between Clownfish and Blue Tangs is that they still haven't figured out a way to breed Blue Tangs in captivity, so any Blue Tangs that you get for your aquarium will be taken off the reef somewhere, away from where they belong. Blue Tangs have a bigger travel radius than Clownfish do so they don't do well in captivity, and they are incredibly important for coral health because they eat the algae that risks suffocating the coral if left to grow unchecked, so it will be devastating to any reef system to lose them.
So please, if you watch the movie and feel inclined to see more Blue Tangs, go see them in the wild. They're actually very quirky and funny, just like Dory, although hopefully not as forgetful! We love watching the big schools of Blue Tangs descending on the reef and eating up a storm, without a care in the world if anyone else is around. If you love Dory (or Nemo, or Hank, or Destiny, or Bailey), let them just keep swimming!
Just because you don't want to see Dory in captivity doesn't mean you can't have fun with it, either! For those of you more inclined to give in to Disney magic, you can also bring Dory diving with you! Nemo and Dory have been our dive buddies for five years now, following us as we dive all around the world. Just keep swimming, indeed.