The conservation of freshwater fish species, including tropical fish, has been identified as an issue in need of more attention and action. So OATA is very pleased to be part of Shoal, an exciting new initiative aimed at engaging a wide range of organisations to grow and develop interest in freshwater species conservation, particularly fish. Effective conservation of freshwater fish can maintain and improve the functioning of whole freshwater ecosystems – reaping benefits for other species, habitats and people. From an industry perspective it can ensure that supplies of peoples’ favourite ornamental fish are sustainably maintained over the long-term.

A key difference between this project and many others is the eagerness to fully engage all interested parties from the outset, bringing together interests from the trade, hobby, public aquariums, the conservation and academic worlds, under a single common aim.

To date a number of notable institutional partners have already signed up as founding partners, including amongst them: OATA; WWF International; the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist Group; ASAP (the Asian Species Action Partnership); Tropical Fish Keeping UK (representing UK hobbyists); and others.

A key aim of the initiative is to establish a funding platform to support scalable freshwater fish conservation projects around the world. But its not just about funding. Equally important is the desire to bring in specialist knowledge and to share the message.

A meeting in the UK in 2018 involving a number of large businesses from the ornamental aquatic sector (importers, retailers and manufacturers) and aquarists demonstrated that, even though the initiative is still at its early stages, there is already a high level of commitment to engage in the project and raise awareness and funding to support freshwater fish conservation. An important step in moving forward is to engage aquatics businesses from around the world to create a truly global collaboration that can really make a difference to the conservation of the freshwater species that our industry relies on.

Shoal officially launched on March 1, 2019 and we look forward to seeing how we can support it in its work as it grows.

Find out more below by reading the brochure or visit its website.

If you are interested in being a part of this exciting initiative you can contact OATA.

IUCN Home Aquarium Fish Sub-Group

OATA is also part of the Home Aquarium Fish Sub-Group, part of the IUCN’s Freshwater Fish Specialist Group. It aims to:

  • To identify, validate, and promote the conservation and wise management of wild populations of tropical fishes that are part of the home aquarium trade, as well as the ecosystems where they are found.
  • To support sustainable, socioeconomic, and environmental benefits for home aquarium fishing communities, especially living in regions of biological importance.
  • To develop and implement solutions that result in the most robust market for home aquarium fish that result in environmental protectionism, poverty alleviation, and climate stability.

You can read the article we wrote for the IUCN’s newsletter examining the livelihood and conservation benefits of wild caught ornamental fish below.

From River to Aquarium

Our Chief Executive Dominic was lucky to be invited to take part in one of Project Piaba‘s annual trips to Barcelos in Brazil to see its work at first hand with the fishing community who catch wild tropical fish like cardinal tetras and discus for the aquarium industry. After his visit Dominic wrote up his thoughts on what he had seen at first hand.