26 June 2014

Montreal SBSTTA 2014 meeting

Louis McCann (PIJAC Canada), Marshall Meyers (PIJAC USA) and Keith Davenport (OATA) at the Montreal meeting

The UK aquatic industry – along with those in Europe, Canada and the United States – have been praised at the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) meeting being held in Montreal this week for helping to raise awareness about invasive species.

This global gathering brings together the 194 signatory countries to look at progress on the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association worked with fellow trade organisations from across the world, including OFI, PIJAC Canada and PIJAC USA, to produce an updated report on industry initiatives to educate people about the importance of not releasing non-native animals, flora and fauna into the local countryside.

During the meeting government representatives from Canada and the UK highlighted the positive working relationship with their national pet industries which are playing a part in raising customer awareness of their responsibilities towards their native countryside.

“We were very pleased to hear the UK government representatives talk to the meeting about the success of the Be Plant Wise campaign – which has been used by many UK shops and businesses to educate their customers about how to deal with aquatic plants,” explained OATA’s Chief Executive Keith Davenport.

“The Canadians also talked about their Habitattitude scheme where our equivalent PIJAC Canada has joined forces with the Invading Species Awareness Program and Big Al’s Aquarium Services to do something similar with aquarium and water garden enthusiasts.”

For this year’s meeting, OATA helped to produce an update pulling together examples of the industry working to help governments meet their biodiversity targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was a follow-up to a report produced for the 2011 SBSTTA meeting. In this latest update, which was circulated to all government officials, UK examples included work by Pets at Home, Anglo Aquatic Plants Ltd, Peregrine Livefoods, The Non-Native Species Secretariat and the joint OATA/REPTA Pet Code of Practice.

Keith added: “This is a global meeting so it’s fantastic that the work of UK businesses has been highlighted at such a high level. OATA is continually stressing how important it is that our industry is seen as part of the solution – not just the potential source of the problem over invasives. So for it to be acknowledged at this level that the industry is playing its part is quite a coup and I’d like to thank all those businesses who use the Be Plant Wise campaign to educate their customers about disposing of plants and who work to our new Code of Practice.”

Marshall Meyers, of PIJAC (USA) commented: “Delegations from Canada, UK and Sweden all spoke to the fact that working in partnership with industry is very important and cited our work as exemplary of collaboration over addressing the issue of invasive species. As far as I’m aware no other industry was highlighted at the meeting so that is quite something for our industry to be acknowledged in this way.

“But the battle is not over yet because there is still a disconnect in the minds of many when they see reports of the sheer number of non-native species and specimens in our trade. They tend to equate volume with harm so we need to keep up all our efforts to educate customers to act responsibly in their hobby.”

More information about the CPD can be found here.