Directors must stand for re-election every three years. Any of our members may be nominated to stand for election to the Board of Directors; if you would like to be considered for election, please contact the current OATA Chairman or find out more about what’s involved here.
Pete has worked in the aquatics industry for over 30 years now, in retail outlets, public aquariums and zoos.
After completing a Degree in Freshwater and Marine Biology at Aberystwyth University, he then went on to work in many aquatic retails, from small specialist marine only through to large chain national retailers, as well as working for 10 years in zoos and public aquariums such Bristol Zoo Aquarium, The At Bristol Project, and the Blue Reef Aquarium Group, and several large overseas projects.
After several years working as a consultant to large overseas public aquarium projects he returned to retail and joined Pets at Home where he was the Aquatics Operations Manager for over a decade. He now works for CASCO as Head of Global Innovation.
My experience covers a variety of sectors within the trade spanning the past 20 years and I have the grey hairs to prove it. Initially I worked for a large multi-site chain whilst studying for my BSc in Marine Biology, then a public aquarium, a wholesaler/importer and lastly in independent aquatics store before setting up my own wholesale company, EcoMarines. EcoMarines is driven by nothing other than my pure passion to improve our trade by focusing on sustainability and ethics. Part of this has seen me work extensively on shutting down illegal coral imports, producing documents alongside OATA to help authorities spot and act on ‘fake mariculture’ as well as tirelessly working with exporters and like-minded companies on improving sourcing, quarantine procedures and shipping strategies.
Outgoing Vice Chair
I studied engineering specialising in aquarium filtration, gaining a 1st class degree. Previously I have been involved in helping many NGOs ranging from the National Lobster hatchery in Padstow, to Coral Awareness Projects. With a strong understanding of marketing, I am well aware of brand and modern communication technologies.
Through my career, I have always been in the aquatic market segment and close to the retail trade. Using my knowledge and entrepreneurial flair to start biOrb aquarium in 1999. A strong believer in animal welfare I have more recently started Seneye who provide unique internet monitoring systems for aquatic welfare. My aim has always been to try and increase the numbers of fish keepers in the UK.
I have kept fish since a small child and currently have a Koi pond along with Marine and tropical aquariums. I am also a keen surfer, diver, and motorcyclist combining these where possible with his passion for travel.
With his first job as a ‘fish importer’, Robert has been in the aquatic import and distribution business for twenty years. In 1999, Robert founded Independent Aquatic Imports Ltd with business partner Annie Biggerstaff and they are both as passionate about the business now as they were then. The company imports and distributes ornamental fish and aquatic plants across the UK. Married with three children, Robert enjoys relaxing with family and friends and the odd round of golf.
“I joined OATA to offer my services and experience to assist the trade not only in matters directly relevant to our day to day business but also the whole trade.”
Dr Sean Evans
A biologist and former senior research scientist, Sean was drawn into the aquatic trade by his enthusiasm for the fishkeeping hobby. Now the General Manager at Wharf Aquatics, he was already a keen fishkeeper of many years, having kept a very wide range of fish over the years, including many tropical community fish, but particularly oddballs, catfish, cichlids, and brackish fish and having a long-term interest in planted aquaria. He also has a multi-level planted wildlife pond. Sean’s fish collection has twice featured in Practical Fishkeeping magazine, back in 2003, and again in 2015. He authored a comprehensive book on keeping tropical fish entitled Tropical Aquarium and was consultant and co-author on two further titles. He also wrote a number of articles for Practical Fishkeeping magazine and answered questions in their experts’ column on water chemistry and general fishkeeping for a number of years. He created and maintains his own fishkeeping website, The Tropical Tank, one of the UK’s oldest major tropical fish websites, and also set up the Wharf Aquatics’ website, online shop and social media. www.wharfaquatics.co.uk
She was born into the aquatics industry, as her parents, David and Rosalind, founded Anglo Aquatic plant (formerly Anglo Aquarium) over 50 years ago. She has been involved in the business from a very early age. After university, she worked at Mars confectionery, designing and building production lines, but returned to the family business in 2009. Using her knowledge and experience from the corporate world, she has taken Anglo from strength to strength, focusing on quality products and customer service.
She has immense knowledge in aquatic plants and is regularly called upon to advise retailers, landscapers and consultants. She frequently hosts Capel Manor students at Anglo to enhance their knowledge of aquatics.
Neil runs Neil Hardy Aquatica Ltd with his brothers Peter and Jon and now has over 35 staff. The company has more than 3,000 aquariums and ponds and sells all types of tropical and coldwater fishes including a vast selection of the more specialist fishes which are imported and exported all over the world. The company has two additional fish farms producing and growing its own biosecure coldwater fishes.
Neil has travelled the world extensively collecting and sourcing fishes and has considerable experience building and designing fish houses, setting up shipping stations etc. Other ventures include the distribution of professional aquatic products, including the popular New Life Spectrum range of high quality fish foods.
Simon’s role in the business now takes him worldwide sourcing ethical and sustainable livestock and innovative products to benefit the welfare of livestock and enhance the fishkeeping experience.
Simon’s been a member of OATA for many years now and regards the role as vital to promote & protect the trade, to ensure standards of livestock welfare through the UK and identify and address issues within the aquatic industry, representing businesses on their behalf.
Our family run business Kidsgrove Tropical’s and Water Garden Centre opened in 1983 and has been a member of OATA Since its founding in 1991. I have passed both OATA Advanced diplomas and enjoyed the studying aspect which was required for these courses. Having these diplomas has also assisted my further knowledge which has been helpful to enable me to inform my customers with good quality advice and customer service.
Since we began trading in 1983 I have worked in all aspects of this trade from retail sales, stock control, preparing the necessary book work which is required. As a small independent retailer established in this industry for over 30 years I believe I can assist and encourage other smaller retailers to the board to make them aware of OATA and what they have to offer and I am committed to help the association in any way to help safeguard our members and the industry.
Having spent the last year as a new blood member on the OATA board I bring forward the views and opinions of the smaller independent bricks and mortar retail stores to the board so to help secure the future of the aquatic industry. Over this period of time I have being working with OATA towards a goal to help with a particular interest of mine which is the inconsistency of local authorities issuing pet licenses throughout the United Kingdom.
My hobbies include gardening and after all these years I am still a keen aquarist with a special interest in aquatic gardening and custom built aquarium installations.
I have worked at Pets at Home since July 1998 so I have over 20 yrs experience in pet retail and more specifically aquatics. I joined originally as a store manager which gave me great experience in the day to day running of a pet store, and lots of encounters with customers coming in to buy fish either for established tanks, or to start from scratch as a first time fish keeper. I then progressed to area manager and managed several areas across the country including Northern Ireland. This gave me a greater insight into the wider sector and helped establish my leadership skills. In 2012 I took another internal role / promotion to become Pets at Homes very first Head of Pet Operations. In this role I work closely with our Head of Pets. I am also a director of AHDA (Animal Health Distributors Association).
Rob set up and manages The Coral Centre, a coral farming facility/retail store that also undertake scientific research for coral growth and reef restoration, bridging the gap between hobbyist and scientist. “I have a real passion to make a difference in the hobby, as we get a better understanding of fish keeping and the impact this can have on the environment. My background is retail marketing and customer experience, learning the trade in the DIY industry, before moving into the aquatic trade. I’m keen to use these skills to help support the delivery of tools that’ll help traders deliver a high standard of customer experience within their shops and online stores. Outside of the trade, I’m a keen marine keeper and avid sports fan.” www.thecoralcentre.co.uk
Brian has over 18 years of experience in the industry with its roots in marine ornamental aquaculture leading to various world firsts in rearing species at commercial scale. Over the years he has developed his experience from managing various departments in the business over various countries and various roles in other trade associations specifically in the Iberian peninsula (AEDPAC and APCPAC). Brian is now a partner and director for TMC.
“As Managing Director of Tropical Marine Centre, I have responsiblity for the entire worldwide operations of our centres of excellence in fish as well as their supply lines and customer base, ensuring that TMC upholds its position as Europe’s leading supplier of the highest quality, ethically-sourced marine livestock to the trade.”
Dr Donna Snellgrove
Donna has a BSc degree in biological sciences specialising in marine biology from the University of Plymouth, which she followed with an MSc in biological research methods from Exeter University. She then returned to Plymouth to do a PhD in fish nutrition and physiology. Her research, sponsored by an Aquafeed company, investigated the availability and fate of minerals from various raw materials in diets for production rainbow trout. Her post-doctoral research based at the University of Connecticut (US), involved culturing seaweed (Porphyra sp.) for use in integrated aquaculture systems.
Head of retail sales, Ben is responsible for growing the business within the pet trade both in the UK and internationally, with a sales team reporting into him. Ben is also instrumental in building relationships within the Grocery sector and expanding the breadth of the Pets Choice business.