Phoenix Fish Store Refuses To Fall For 'Finding Dory' Sales Hook

Published: Monday, June 20, 2016 - 5:08am
Updated: Monday, June 20, 2016 - 1:07pm
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(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
The Ocean Floor, a fish and aquarium store in Phoenix, will not sell the blue tang species for at least two months.
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
The Ocean Floor is not selling live blue tang species but you can buy stuffed Disney characters.

Inside a cool, dark building near Interstate 17 and Thomas Road, store manager Dan Walker describes a saltwater fish Disney fans know well.

“This is the blue tang, it’s a juvenile.” he said. “They are very peaceful and they get along with a lot of other fish, but they are very, very shy and get stressed out very easily and that’s a big reason why they’re not a beginner fish.”

Walker calls the species a blue tang, but Disney has another name for it — Dory.  She was a popular character in the blockbuster hit “Finding Nemo.” Now, 13 years later, she’s the star of "Finding Dory”.

 “We’re trying to avoid that 25 percent spike in demand for blue tangs,” said Walker.

That 25 percent spike is what the aquarium industry saw when people rushed to buy Nemos, which are clownfish. Walker said too many Nemos died and they won’t be part of Dory’s demise.

The Ocean Floor has decided to stop selling the wild fish that cannot be bred in captivity.

 They are expecting this move to bring a big change in the blue tang population in the ocean, says Walker.

“We’re going to run out of Dorys, yes, I think,” said customer Larissa Dominguez.  

She has a clownfish – or a Nemo – and doesn’t mind not being able to buy Nemo’s friend.  Dominguez says many people don’t realize the time and expense involve in caring for saltwater fish.

 “We obviously get special water, special treatment for them, everything so that they can survive longer,” she said.

Walker says Ocean Floor will likely lose sales. One blue tang can run between $50 and $250.

“What we’re looking for long-term is the safety of animals,” he says.

Walker says it’ll be at least two months before they start selling blue tangs again. For now, the only Dory you can take home is stuffed. You’ll find her next to a stuffed Nemo at the register.