LOSING NEMO: The proposed Clownfish Captive Breeding facility at Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre.
LOSING NEMO: The proposed Clownfish Captive Breeding facility at Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre.

Boyne group launches breeding program to help save Nemo

A BOYNE Island environment group is doing its bit to help save the fish made famous in the popular film Finding Nemo.

Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre is establishing a Clownfish Captive Breeding Program in a bid to help the species, which has in recent years suffered falling population numbers.

Since the release of the hit film, fame has not served the clownfish well, with global populations declining by an estimated 75 per cent due to its popularity as an aquarium pet.

The Boyne Island centre will soon run a training program for staff and the community on how to care for clownfish, and will launch its Clownfish Captive Breeding Program.

National Geographic estimates the demand for clownfish as aquarium pets since the release of Finding Nemo, has increased by 30 to 40 per cent.

The Boyne Island centre believes 90 per cent of these pet clownfish were taken from their natural coral reef habitat and sold in pet shops globally.

Still in its infancy, the centre has created saltwater havens, with the help of the Fitzroy Basin Association and a grant from Boyne Smelter.

The group will soon bring in an expert clownfish breeder to train staff and community members in how to maintain the saltwater aquariums to breed the fish, and the live food cultures to feed the hatchlings.

The clownfish will lay eggs in terracotta flowerpots - the second step of the breeding process.

To stop people taking fish from the reef, the centre hopes to provide captive-born clownfish to pet stores.

Funds raised will be reinvested into the program.

Visit the centre's Facebook page to follow its progress.