OATA advocates that all ornamental fish purchased for aquaria and ponds should always remain within their designated environments.
Coldwater fish have the potential to become invasive. OATA is naturally concerned of the risk and welfare issues – although it may appear to be a kind gesture, the release of any fish into the wild is cruel, since predation, starvation, cold or disease will most likely kill them.
To remind fish keepers not to release ornamental fish of any sort into the wild, OATA has produced a dedicated poster “Pet Fish Belong” – (pdf) for display in retail sales outlets.
We have also joined forces with REPTA to publicise a Code of Practice for pet owners and traders to help encourage responsible pet ownership of non-native pets. You can read the Code of Practice here and we would encourage you to share it with your customers.
OATA encourages its members to keep its customers informed of animal welfare issues and legislation, which includes:
- Section 14 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence for any person to release or allow escape to the wild any animal which is a kind not ordinarily resident and is not a regular visitor to Great Britain in the wild state. These provisions apply equally to amphibians and reptiles. This Act requires that all reasonable care and due diligence is taken to avoid animals escaping into the wild.
- Section 30 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 requires that the written consent of the National Rivers Authority is obtained before fish or spawn of fish can be released into any inland water.