Animal campaign groups want to prevent people from keeping ‘exotic’ or ‘wild’ pets and we should be under no illusion that this includes ornamental fish. They are campaigning to convince people that keeping these kinds of pets are wrong. And many of their campaigns focus on introducing bans on the importation and sale of wild-caught and exotic species.
If these groups succeed with their aims then it would spell the end of the ornamental fish-keeping hobby. All aquarium species, including fish, corals and other invertebrates like shrimp and snails, are ‘exotic’ – whether captive bred or not. And if there are no fish there’s no trade or hobby – fish account for only a percentage of sales for the industry but without them there’s no need for tanks, filters, food, medicines, plants etc. It would decimate the ornamental fish-keeping hobby and the livelihoods the hobby supports.
We need politicians to start to understand that keeping exotic and wild-caught species as pets includes ornamental fish – and that exotic pets are not a ‘bad’ thing.
What we are doing
- We launched our Wild Caught Ornamental Fish: the trade, the benefits, the facts report in 2016 to show there is another side in the debate about wild caught pets. We sent this to both UK politicians and officials as well as organisations globally.
- We are regularly meeting and corresponding with MPs and officials in Westminster, the devolved administrations and EU politicians and officials to talk about the issue of exotic pets and responsible pet ownership.
- We are building relationships with a wide variety of organizations, from charities to public bodies, to show there is another side to the issue of exotic pets. We sit on the IUCN’s Home Aquarium Sub Group which is looking at ways to build relationships between public aquariums and the home aquarium industry.
- We are a member of APGAW in the House of Commons.
- We launched our #handsoffmyhobby campaign in 2013 and have resurrected it at the European Parliament election, General Election and Devolved elections since then. Through the campaign we are galvanising the industry and fishkeepers to engage with their elected representatives to show that the fishkeeping hobby and industry is important to their constituents