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.
We recognise that virtually every species we trade in is not native to the UK so our industry has a responsibility to educate our customers about the need not to release fish or plants into the wild.
However it is equally true that very few of those species we trade in could ever become invasive because most are tropical species that would not survive our colder temperatures.
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.