ONE in every six species related to characters in the smash hit kids' movie Finding Nemo is threatened with extinction.
Scientists analysed risks faced by Nemo, the charismatic clownfish, and more than 1500 other species related to characters in the 2003 animation.
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Canada's Simon Fraser University scientists, led by Loren McClenachan, found that hunting and fishing posed the greatest threat to their survival.
"Putting Nemo in office aquariums, making soup out of Anchor the shark's fins and selling Sheldon the seahorse as curios has taken a toll," Dr McClenachan said.
"Our research highlights how very little we know about many of these animals.
"It's unthinkable that the characters in Finding Nemo could become extinct, but this is the reality unless we pay more attention to the diversity of marine life."
All species of marine turtles, more than half of all hammerhead sharks, mackerel sharks and eagle rays (all characters in the movie) are threatened.
Seahorses are the most threatened group of bony fish, with two in five species at risk of extinction.
Despite a need for conservation, regulation of trade in endangered marine species is lacking for those with high economic value, like sharks.
Threatened sharks and rays needed protection against international trade, compared with all other groups.
Fewer than one in 10 species of threatened sharks and rays considered in the study is protected by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
Photo courtesy of craveinteriors.com.au