5 March 2014

A special #handsoffmyhobby campaign has been launched to get passionate marine and tropical aquarists to shout about what they love about keeping fish.

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association is warning that popular tropical marine and freshwater fish, corals and invertebrates could be under threat if a European lobbying group for animals is successful in its #votes4animals lobbying campaign in the run-up to the European elections being held in May.

Eurogroup for Animals, which is based in Brussels, is asking MEPs to sign a pledge to work towards banning the import of wild caught animals, which could include all types of tropical marine and freshwater fish, corals and invertebrates.

The trade association – which will be lobbying Euro MPs in coming weeks to make sure they hear the other side of the argument – is calling on people power to help in its work by urging keen fishkeepers to contact MEPs to urge them not to sign the pledge.

“We think it’s time that the views of the millions of people who enjoy fish keeping across Europe should also be brought to the attention of MEPs,” said OATA Chief Executive Keith Davenport.

“Currently, many MEPs are signing up to a manifesto written by Eurogroup for Animals. While we can all agree that everyone must be concerned about and protect animal welfare, this lobby group goes much further by asking all political groups to include a call to ‘ban the import of wild-caught animals and restrict the number of exotic species that can be imported and traded in the EU’ in their manifestos.

“Taken to its logical conclusion this would mean if you want to keep tropical marine or freshwater fish, corals, soft corals or other invertebrates you might as well forget it. All of these are either wild-caught and/or exotic, which means they’re not native to the UK, so they would no longer be available to buy.

“Your hobby is under threat right now. If you love your tank we want you to let MEPs know how you feel and tell them #handsoffmyhobby.”

What you can do to support OATA’s #handsoffmyhobby campaign:

  • Contact the MEPs who have already signed up to the Eurogroup for Animals’ manifesto to let them know how much you enjoy your hobby and ask why they support this document.
  • Contact any candidates for the European Parliament in your area to let them know about our #handsoffmyhobby campaign and why you support it.
  • You can find the contact details of your local MEP at http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/home.html and the details of those MEPs who have signed up to the Eurogroup for Animals pledge are on OATA’s website.
  • Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or follow our LinkedIn page to find out the latest news on this campaign – and share updates with your fishkeeping friends in your groups, forums and communities.
  • Use the #handsoffmyhobby hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to share what you’d miss the most from your tank if any wild caught animal ban came into effect.

There’s more information about the #handsoffmyhobby campaign on here.