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Finding Nemo – Exposed

By 5 September 2017March 1st, 2019Conservation, Underwater Life

Finding Nemo in LembonganFinding Nemo in Lembongan

In 2003,  Pixar Animation Studios filled the silver screen with bright colours and introduced children and parents alike, to Nemo the Clown Fish. It was because of Finding Nemo, that Clown Fish would now consistently be refereed to as Nemo(s).

Nemo and his friends underwater adventures helped introduce a new generation to the underwater world. This in turn helped spike interest in scuba diving, fish and despite the horrifying scene of Nemo being snatched for a personal collection, an extreme boost in Clown Fish sales, for pets.

Even though more Clown Fish were being taken from the oceans, for aquariums, Finding Nemo did fill children with wonder about the underwater world, different fish and a new found love for Clown Fish.

We know that Finding Nemo is a kids movie about adventures, friendship and family, which needed to be delivered in a child-friendly way, but there are a few facts that are just not quiet correct.

Let’s break these facts down point by point:

Clown Fish Change Sex

Confused NemoOne of the opening scenes of the movie, depicts the loving Clown Fish family enjoying their new anemone home. Clown Fish live inside anemones and have a symbiotic relationship with the anemone. There is a very clear social structure for the Clown Fish inside one anemone. The roles of the family are determined by size; The largest being the dominant female (Nemo’s Mum – Coral), the 2nd largest is the male partner (Nemo’s Father – Marlin) and the smaller Clown Fish (babies / children) are all male. So far so good for the movie. But the shocking facts kick in right after the shocking scene, where the anemone is attacked, only leaving Nemo and his father alive.

In real life, if the dominant female inside an anemone dies, the next largest (who is a male) will change his sex to become a female and thus becoming the new dominant female. This is where it would have got a little strange for a kids movie. The 3rd biggest Clown Fish, who is always a male, would become the new mating partner of the new dominant female.

So if we take this logic and apply it to Finding Nemo, when Coral died, Marlin would then have become a female and Nemo would have to mate with his father, the now… mother…?

Pixar Studios was asked about this in an interview. They laughed it off and just said, that they could not have explained that in a kids movie.

All Drains Lead to the Ocean

Though this statement is true in many parts of the world, the journey for Nemo down the drain would have been a very different one in real life.

Sydney’s (where the dentist office is in the movie) drainage and waste water system is set up to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the ocean. Yes, it is likely, but not always, that Sydney’s waste water drains do eventually end up in the ocean, so this part of the movie is somewhat correct. But in order to reduce the amount of waste that reaches that far, there are a series of treatments that the liquid needs to go through to help process it. One of the first of these treatments are grinders that help break down any solids. Among other treatments including chemicals, thinners and heat, Nemo would have had one hell of an adventure trying to make it out alive.

Turtle Dude (Finding Nemo)Duuuuddddeee

The best scene in the full movie, when Marlin meets Crush (the turtle) for the first time. During this moment, a large group of turtles and their young are seen traveling through the East Australian Current. This current does exist but there are a few issues with the Clown Fish and turtle interaction.

First off, turtles are generally solidarity creatures, thus very unlikely to travel all together in the same current, at the same time, like what is shown in the movie. If that was true, imagine how amazing, as a diver, it would be to watch 100 hundreds of turtles and babies, flying by, yelling ‘Duuuuudddeee’.

We are then introduced to Crush’s ‘offspring’, squirt, as well as seeing other turtles caring for other offspring. As amazing as this scene is and how nice it is to see happy families in a children’s movie, turtles do not care for their young. They go to the land, dig a nest, lay their eggs and leave. From when the eggs hatch, it is up to the babies to fend for themselves. But, it is at this point, when the baby turtles make their way to the ocean, that they do enter current streams like the EAC as it provides them protection from predators, while being able to find easy food in the current.

All in AllFinding Nemo Capture Scene

In the end, Finding Nemo is just a kids movie, full of pretty colours, morals, adventures and talking fish. It is not meant to be overly fact checked and if these changes were made to the movie, it would not have been as good.

In saying this, Finding Nemo did create an issue with the population of Clown Fish. This issue was named the ‘Finding Nemo Effect’. It’s a heartbreaking scene, when Nemo is plucked by a diver and pulled from the reef, leaving his dad distraught. Yet the movie inspired just that. A wave of demand for pet Clown Fish spurred unscrupulous collectors to bag and sell these wild fish around the world. Lets not let our kids be like the demanding braces girl in the dentist and really think about not buying tropical fish.

Now don’t get me started on Finding Dory.


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