The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association is calling on all manufacturers to include a simple no release message on all new packaging.

Companies which produce ‘dry goods’, such as fish food, tanks, pumps and other equipment associated with keeping ornamental fish are being asked to include a line encouraging customers not to let any animals or plants get into the wild.

The call came during Invasive Species Week 2016, organised by the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat at the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA).

“We have been in talks with some of the big players in our industry to work towards putting this message on products,” said OATA Chief Executive Keith Davenport

“Invasive species are a ‘hot topic’ at the moment, particularly as the European Union finalises its list of species of EU-wide concern, which includes aquatic pond plants such as water hyacinth.

“It’s therefore incredibly important our industry shows we’re doing all we can to educate customers about their role in protecting our native countryside. Pond plant sellers, both wholesale and retail, have been supporting the Be Plant Wise campaign for several years, Pets at Home includes information on its sales receipts and Peregrine Livefoods is very good at reminding buyers about their responsibilities. But there’s definitely more that aquatic product manufacturers can do to educate the public.

“So we hope all UK manufacturers will show they care about the UK countryside and include a simple message on their packaging urging customers not to allow pond and aquarium plants and animals into the wild.”

OATA is suggesting manufacturers include this line on all new packaging when it is designed and to update current packaging when it’s feasible: “Be kind to your fish and the environment – never let any animals or plants from your aquarium or pond get into the wild.”label