We are very pleased that our Wild Caught Ornamental Fish: the trade, the benefits, the facts report has been shortlisted for Publication of the Year award by the Trade Association Forum.

It looks like we have some stiff competition from five other trade associations (including fellow pet industry colleagues at Pet Food Manufacturers Association) so we’ll see how we go on the night. We’ve obviously very proud of this report so to be even shortlisted is great!

Here’s why we think it should win…

With increasingly negative campaigns in the media regarding the collection and keeping of wild animals, we wanted to examine the evidence for the positive benefits of wild caught tropical fish to both the remote local economies worldwide that rely upon the trade and the positive impact it can have on maintaining healthy habitats in the wider environment.

Catching live fish for the aquarium trade helps people in some of the world’s poorest countries to make a sustainable living from the resources on their doorstep (part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals). We wanted to tell the story in a way that would inspire the global trade to use the information to engage with politicians to show there is another, positive side to the issue.

We commissioned the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology to review the available scientific literature which produced a 175 page report.  We had a great deal of useful data but needed help in making it accessible for the various stakeholders.

We worked with Bristol-based Rubicon Marketing whose brief was to produce an easy-to-read and visually appealing report for print, as well as a digital version to share on email and social media. The report contained a large number of infographics to give the statistics greater impact.

The report was launched in May 2016. It charts the journey wild caught fish take to the UK, where they come from, how they are caught, how they travel and the regulations that govern that journey. An important element looks at the alternative livelihoods on offer to people who catch live fish and whether these are ‘better’ for them and the planet. It also includes four case studies – with videos in the digital report – showing people talking about their livelihoods and way of life.

Hard copy reports were sent to MPs, MSPs, Welsh AMs and MEPS, government ministers, officials and select committee members. As a result we were invited to meet with Sir David Amess MP who has agreed to work with us to raise our issues in parliament. We also received letters from then Defra minister Rory Stewart and DFID minister James Wharton acknowledging the livelihood benefits of our industry and the role it can play in meeting Sustainable Development Goals.

The digital report came into its own when sharing with numerous global contacts. It was emailed to organisations such as the UN, CITES and conservation charities such as the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). As a result we’ve had valuable follow-up conversations on mutual topics.

A major success was that two fellow trade bodies (in Germany and the US where the biggest markets are) have taken up the baton. The German trade association has translated parts to share with its audiences while US trade association PIJAC has taken our design and is currently reworking it into an American version (they also gave us a $4,000 donation).

We shared the report extensively on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Over 5 weeks our Facebook updates achieved 389 likes, shares and comments and we gained over 250 likes and followers to the page, as well as 60 new Twitter followers and 25 new LinkedIn contacts (near four times our normal activity.)

Though a relatively small sum the report represented a significant investment for our small trade association but it has given us a valuable resource to continue to share as we build on relationships with UK politicians. From the outset we wanted the report to be the starting point and we see the ‘baton-passing’ to other trade associations as a key indicator of success. We are particularly keen to see what the American trade association will do with the report in the USA (by far the biggest market for ornamental fish in the world) and the increased awareness and impact this will bring.

Read the digital report here.

Find out more about the report here.