We recognise that many of the species we trade in are not native to the UK, although some are. But even native plants are not native everywhere in the UK. We believe our industry has a responsibility to educate our customers about the need not to release fish or plants into the wild. Our advice is always to keep them in your garden or aquarium and to compost with care.
It’s also fair to say that very few of the species we trade in could ever become invasive because most are tropical species that would not survive our colder temperatures. But good gardeners still need to be careful, for example by not creating ponds near to native waterways or by throwing plants over the hedge or into rivers etc.
Alien invasive/non-native species are flora and fauna that are found outside their natural range and, if allowed to escape, can thrive and rapidly colonise a wide area causing damage to the ecosystem. That’s why we help to spread the message that it’s important to compost with care and to keep your pond or aquarium plants in the closed system of your pond or aquarium.
What we are doing
- We work to address unsubstantiated claims about the potential invasiveness of species within our industry, particularly during the formation of legislation, including commenting on the EU Alien Invasives Regulations list of EU wide concern. We try to ensure that any legislation is measured, rational and protects the environment. Working with initiatives such as the Be Plant Wise campaign ensures that the industry and fish keepers are part of the solution rather than the problem.
- We work to ensure that species are never released in the wild and so never become invasive. We work closely with relevant agencies to raise awareness in our industry of the ‘no release’ message. All our care sheets for example have the no release message on them and we have worked with REPTA on our joint Code of Practice for responsible pet keeping.
- We are calling on manufacturers and dry goods producers to put the no release message on their packaging when they redesign them. Pets at Home and Maidenhead Aquatics have already incorporated these messages into the way they sell products to their customers.