The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) is reporting it has saved the aquatics industry around \u00a33 million in lost sales after preventing a ban on three plants originally on a DEFRA prohibition list.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOATA\u2019s campaigning on behalf of the industry means oxygenators, such as Lagarosiphon, water hyacinth and water lettuce, will remain on the shelves following DEFRA\u2019s latest ban announcement.\r\nDEFRA announced earlier this week that it is stopping the sale of five plants, some of which OATA had previously recommended retailers do not sell.\r\nDespite its success, OATA also sent out a cautious message to those involved in the sale of aquatic plants and fish, telling them to \u201cup their game\u201d in encouraging the public to responsibly dispose of unwanted or excess plants or pets.\r\nChief executive of OATA Keith Davenport explained: \u201cWhen the sales ban was first suggested the range of species was rather longer, because it included Lagarosiphon, water hyacinth and water lettuce.\r\n\u201cLosing these three plants would have been a major blow to the whole trade, losing them an estimated \u00a33 million a year in sales. OATA recognised this, and campaigned long and hard to make the proposed prohibition list as short as possible, while not losing sight of the need to address the issue of garden pond plants appearing in the wild. Our work with DEFRA means these three plants, originally on the banned list, will continue to be sold, which we think is a really positive outcome for traders at such a difficult economic time.\r\n\u201cThe government recognised that the industry's willingness to promote the \u2018Be Plant Wise\u2019 message did play a significant part in encouraging people to be responsible but we can\u2019t become complacent and now\u2019s the time for us all to up our game. As an industry, we need to take the lead and demonstrate that tighter controls are not needed and could never be as dynamic and effective as the industry's own efforts.\r\n\u201cWe all need to play our part in shouting the message loud and clear, so that customers don\u2019t get rid of unwanted plants \u2013 and pets \u2013 into the wild. OATA is the \u2018voice of the industry\u2019 and this victory clearly demonstrates that DEFRA listens to our voice but we also need the industry to support and join us in this fight.\u201d\r\nThe five plants banned by DEFRA are water fern; parrot\u2019s feather; floating pennywort; Australian swamp stone crop (New Zealand pygmyweed); and water primrose.\r\nRetailers selling these plants face a fine of up to \u00a35,000 and\/or up to six months in prison. Retailers have a year to adjust to the ban.