June 26, 2008

Seas in Danger of Losing Nemo

THE little fish that inspired the hit Disney movie Finding Nemo are facing extinction.

A study has warned populations of tropical clownfish are shrinking.

And scientists believe the huge success of the 2003 film may have played a part because soaring demand for them as pets meant some were taken from the wild.

A study of clownfish populations off Australia's Queensland coast found the average group has shrunk from 25 members to just six.

Dr Billy Sinclair, of Cumbria University, said overfishing and climate change were decimating numbers.

He said: "My message to kids who loved the film is simple - tell your parents to leave Nemo in the sea."

Dr Sinclair said rising sea temperatures were also killing the reefs and the anemones onwhich the fish live.

He called for a review of harvesting programmes "or we could see local extinctions in the near future".

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