Current Affairs

EU legislation puts aquatic industry in the firing line

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) has called on all aquatic retailers to spread the ‘Be Plant Wise’ message as it awaits draft invasives legislation from the European Union (EU).

The draft regulation, which comes out for consultation in the coming months, could have an enormous impact on what can and can’t be sold within the industry.

“We need to be an active part of the solution to tackling the issue of non-native plants and fish invading our countryside, so the more that people within the industry can do to inform customers the better,” said OATA chief executive Keith Davenport.

Senior EU officials and organisations announced the draft legislation at a meeting to discuss the problem of invasive species in Europe last week.

Davenport and Dr Alex Ploeg of Ornamental Fish International were both at the meeting, titled ‘Biodiversity’s ticking time bomb’, to make the case for involving the trade in any consultations on the draft legislation.

The OATA chief executive continued; “We’re coming to the end of about five years of lobbying on this subject both at local and European levels. But it will start to get really serious now with the prospect of the draft regulation or directive coming out for consultation. I was pleased with the reception we got to our calls to involve the trade which I think shows that our representations so far have had an effect. We’ll continue to hammer home our message that any legislation needs to be rational, proportionate and pragmatic.

“It’s also vital for everyone involved in the aquatics industry – from the shop selling fish on the high street to the manufacturers of aquariums and dry goods – to step up to the plate and play an active part in helping customers to understand why they shouldn’t get rid of plants and animals into the wild. It will make our hand so much stronger if we can show that the trade acts responsibly by actively informing its customers on the issues around invasive species.”

OATA recommends that retailers and manufacturers talk to customers about the Be Plant Wise campaign every time they sell fish, plants or dry goods.

To download Be Plant Wise posters and leaflets visit https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/beplantwise/retailer/index.cfm

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