Saving Nemo: Protections Sought for Clownfish, Hawaiian Damselfish

Nemo's great uncle via Flickr

Finding Nemo? Good luck.

The orange clownfish and seven types of damselfish are headed toward extinction, prompting an environmental group to ask the federal government to protect them.

The 2003 Pixar movie opened Friday with its new 3D version. A day earlier, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service that demands steps be taken to ensure these species survive.

While Nemo is only found in the Indo-Pacific, two of the species the group wants listed as endangered are found exclusively in Hawaii. They are the Hawaiian dascyllus and blue-eye damselfish, two species that depend on healthy coral.

"The main thing these fish need is for us to stop putting so much carbon pollution into the air," said Shaye Wolf, the ecologist who wrote the petition. "It's like the polar bear, it's another wakeup call. More animals are endangered by our carbon pollution and we can't keep going down this road if we care about human health, environmental health and the health of plants and animals."

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