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Is the Aquatics Industry Ready for Dory?

The aquatic retail industry remembers the popularity of “Finding Nemo” and the way it inspired awe and wonder toward marine life and, of course, the explosion of interest in having clownfish as pets. We now are hoping for a similar outcome with "Finding Dory"; being prepared will serve us best during the exciting times following its release.



 

The forthcoming release of Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory” fills us with optimism. We in the aquatic retail industry all remember the popularity of “Finding Nemo” and the way it inspired awe and wonder toward marine life and, of course, the explosion of interest in having clownfish as pets. Manufacturers as well as aquatic retailers saw a surge in sales with new customers and new aquarium setups, as well as equipment. We now are hoping for a similar outcome with "Finding Dory." Being prepared will serve us best during the exciting times following its release.

There are skeptics who postulate that there might be an “anti-pet” message throughout this movie. Sources are speculating Disney-Pixar rewrote the end of the film, changing the moral of the story. We should keep in mind that Disney’s Epcot Center houses captive fish in a public aquarium and that Disney does support the Association of Zoos and Aquariums toward education and conservation. I guess we’ll have to wait for its release to see for ourselves what the overall message, as well as the repercussions, of the film will be. While we wait, I believe it is in our best interest as industry operators to be ready… regardless of the story.

Some suggestions for things all of us can do:

Make a flyer about (or write a blog about) responsible fishkeeping and how it can apply to people’s daily lives. Convey to your community the benefits of keeping fish as pets and how it translates to ocean conservation.

Design a proper “Dory” setup, one that you find to be truly best suited for keeping these fish healthy. Make a package price so that clients who watch the movie and are interested can be engaged easily. And don’t forget about Nemo (I suggest a 75-gallon package for Dory and a 20-gallon nanoreef setup for Nemo).

Utilize your social media to spread the message: “We believe in aquariums as educational tools. We advocate for ocean conservation and reef habitat reform.”

Check with your local theater on availabilities and prices to set up a table and attend the opening weekend. Costs are reasonable, but I can let you know (based on research) major theater companies will not allow glass or water to be displayed (even temporarily) in their lobbies. Smaller, independently owned theaters might allow a touch-feel exhibit or a Dory/Nemo setup to be constructed.

Plan a kid-friendly fun event! Celebrate Dory, Nemo and ocean conservation.

Whatever the film depicts, we will be fine so long as we prepare ahead of time and send the proper message. I think it is important for everyone in the pet industry to not let the movie define us; rather we must take responsibility and define ourselves to the public.

“Finding Dory” arrives in theaters June 17.

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