15 June 2016

Don’t buy fish on a whim after watching the new Finding Dory film, warns the UK trade body that represents the ornamental aquatic industry.

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) is worried that the increasing nature of online sales could encourage impulse purchases of the fish made popular in the new Disney film without people doing the proper research and preparation they need before buying any new pet.

OATA is also advising first time fishkeepers to avoid marine fish like regal tangs (Dory) and clownfish (Nemo) which need an experienced hand to keep successfully.

“Since Finding Nemo was released more than 10 years ago the internet has changed the way people shop,” said OATA Chief Executive Keith Davenport.

“We hope people enjoy the new Finding Dory film and if it inspires people to think about what’s involved in keeping fish then that’s great. But please act responsibly by going to a shop and talking to a good retailer before buying your first fish.

“Ornamental fish are beautiful, delightful, breath-taking animals. And like any pet they deserve respect and a lot of research before you take the plunge into ownership. Do it right and we’re sure people will be hooked by this hobby for life! But don’t just buy a regal tang like Dory or clownfish like Nemo from an online site on a whim and hope it will all work out. It won’t.”

A responsible retailer – like an OATA member – will be able to explain everything people need to know about particular fish species, whether they’re right for them and what they need to keep them successfully. Marine fish like regal tangs and clownfish are not the fish to start with for beginner aquarists but there are fantastic tropical freshwater fish that make a great introduction to keeping fish. Find out more on our Finding your first favourite fish flyer.

Our advice to anyone inspired by Finding Dory to set up their first tank is:

  • Do plenty of research – keeping marine fish needs a lot of experience so try tropical freshwater fish first
  • Talk to a specialist retailer – about the kit you’ll need, the best fish to keep in your first tank and how to introduce them into their new home
  • Be prepared to wait – setting up any tank takes time before you can add your fish
  • Go big – bigger tanks help with better water quality

If the film inspires more experienced aquarists to think about keeping regal tangs then again our advice is to do lots of research and visit a good marine retailer who can help because these are specialist fish that require the right investment to keep successfully.

“We would expect any responsible retailer to be able to help with information on the care and welfare involved in keeping any kind of fish and to help customers to make the right decisions.

“Regal tangs are caught in the wild so we would encourage retailers to talk to their suppliers about where and how the fish are sourced. Fish caught sustainably from the wild can be an important source of income to vulnerable coastal and riverine communities across the world, encouraging them to conserve their environment because they get a long-term income from it.”

Find out more in about the issues in Wild caught ornamental fish – the trade, the benefits, the facts report.