Eu Ban On Fish Keeping! #handsoffmyhobby

Wills

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Hi guys, not been on for a long time sorry about that. This came to my attention today on facebook via the seriously fish page and felt it was to important not to share!
 
http://www.ornamentalfish.org/hands-off-my-hobby
 
If you live in the EU it is extremely important that you read this page and also that you take some form of action.
 
the best thing to do is to contact your local MEP to vote against the proposed plans in the European Parliment - if you are not of voting age perhaps ask a parent to help with contacting them. But even if it is just tweeting or facebooking under the hashtag #handsoffmyhobby is going to get the voice out there.
 
Also distribute the information to all aquatic outlets and shops you visit - take print outs etc as if it passes it will essentially end their lively hood.
 
Just a section of text from the OATA website above to get an idea of exactly what is going on.
 
 
We’ve noticed that Brussels-based lobbying group Eurogroup for Animals has launched a #votes4animals campaign to put animal welfare at the heart of the European elections being held in May.
 
No-one can argue against the importance of animal welfare and we should all be concerned about and want to protect the animals we keep as pets. But the group is asking MEPs, who are now campaigning to win your vote, to sign up to a pledge to support its manifesto which includes a call for:
“Banning the import of wild-caught animals and restricting the number of exotic species* that can be imported and traded in the EU, in line with EU policies which tackle related concerns including human health, animal health and the protection of the environment.”
So if you have a marine or tropical set-up that means everything in it – except the plants – could be under threat. Taken to its logical conclusion this manifesto promise could cover tropical marine or freshwater fish, corals, soft corals or other invertebrates because all these are either wild-caught and/or exotic (which means they’re not native to Europe, even if captive-bred in the EU). That means they’d no longer be available to buy
 
 
For me it seems a tough bill to fully pass, the economic and employment issues alone must be a deterrent from destroying the exotic pets trade. On the top level tier of businesses you just have to think of big companies in the UK like Maidenhead Aquatics or even Pets at home, the impact to them would be crippling, especially Maidenhead Aquatics. But along with them there is every independent shop a lot of which are family owned, the thought of it is just devastating! But then lets go an industry level deeper and talk about European manufaturers like Hagen and Fluval, Rena, Ehiem, Aqua One. There is a Fluval factory in Castleford near me and it is huge I picked up some parts from there once and there were 3 receptionists alone... it is not a small business. Lets not forget all the import businesses and wholesalers. Then even other industries will be impacted, the whole supply chain.
 
Lets not forget that it is not just fish though it is all exotic pets, so its going to cover Reptiles, Snakes and Birds etc.
 
And then lets just talk about hipocracy right now for a few minutes! How can an EU government stand idly by while the Amazon river (a big source of the fish in the hobby) is carved up by hydro electro dams putting thousands of species of fish at risk of extinction...
 
Just as some reassurance, it seems so far the fish we currently have will not be affected - though an interesting thought I have just had, what happens if your fish breed in your house? Livebearers for example which you can have little control over what happens then? Will men in white coats come to your house? Dawn raids by SWAT teams?
 
BUT!!! The important fact to remember that this is still early stages and we can still do something about it!
 
Wills
 
 
*mod note* - obviously this is a very emotive subject and the thread could become heated, but please lets keep all discussion factual, lets keep it positive and work out facts, formulate ideas on how to act etc
 

blueboy1

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Just saying, this won't solidify and happen, that's like saying you can't keep domesticated animals anymore. It would be fatal on the economy. What about parrots and other birds that are exotic. It's just too extreme and drastic for this to ever happen
 

star4

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Quote: “Banning the import of wild-caught animals and restricting the number of exotic species* that can be imported and traded in the EU, in line with EU policies which tackle related concerns including human health, animal health and the protection of the environment.”
 
The problem is that it is already going on. Golden apple snails have been banned in the UK by the EU, various other fish are also banned. Although OATA did try lobbying against the ban of the apple snail in the UK it still went ahead. Now I personally was not aware of the ban on apple snails until I saw it in a well known magazine that the ban had gone through and was in force. This came under "protection of the environment" even though it does not apply to the UK because the apple snail cannot survive our winters. This is just one example.
 
Another side to this outright ban on exotic animals would be the black market. We all know animals, birds and fish are smuggled all over the world by people wanting to make a fast buck.  With animals coming into the country through legal channels at least the majority of the animals welfare can be monitored.
 
IF the ban on "wild caught" animals did come into legislation, who can honestly tell the difference between a wild caught fish and a tank bred fish at a glance?  What I mean is hypothetically checking a shipment of fish, could you spot, for example, a bag of wild caught cardinals against tank bred? with this doubt and outright ban could then be brought into legislation to "safeguard wild fish"
 
Yes the damage to the economy banning keeping exotic pets in one fell swoop would be astronomical, but by banning wild caught and restricting the number of exotic species is only skimming the surface. Once taxes are put up to cover the cost of this and people forget about it the next stage comes in.
 
An example, just and example mind! and it is probably a bad example, but its the best I can think of at the moment,  is banning smoking. If an outright ban on smoking was inforced the tobacco companies would have been in uproar, however, first off it was banning smoking in pubs, public buildings then bus stops, now a ban on smoking in cars with children present, next will be banning smoking in homes with children present, followed by and outright ban. This way of banning something bit by bit is exactly what is happening with the fish trade. Many fish and invertebrates are on the banned list already, we have been going through stage 1 for years, now this ban on "wild caught" and these restrictions is stage 2
 
The aquatic hobby is imperative to keeping many fish species alive, without it they would be extinct, the red tailed black shark for example is extinct in the wild, without the aquatic trade these fish would no longer exist. Banning or restricting the import of such fish will affect those who farm these fish for the trade. I have no idea of figures but I could not begin to estimate how many red tailed black sharks are imported to countries all over the EU each year. 
 
The knock on affect to fish farms in other countries will also be felt along with those who seek out a living going out into the amazon jungle to source wild caught fish.
 
As Wills rightly mentioned all the aquatic retailers, tank manufacturers, filters every tiny thing to do with the hobby is under threat.
 
Without voicing your opinion if you are against it, is just giving the green light for it to go ahead, you have the opportunity NOW to try to make sure that this legislation does not go through, believing that it is not going to happen is not going to stop it happening doing something is, which is what OATA is asking for help for from you, the fish keeper.
 

daizeUK

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Wills said:
Just as some reassurance, it seems so far the fish we currently have will not be affected - though an interesting thought I have just had, what happens if your fish breed in your house? Livebearers for example which you can have little control over what happens then? Will men in white coats come to your house? Dawn raids by SWAT teams?
 
Most common shop-bought livebearers are undoubtedly farm-bred and not wild caught so would not be affected by this legislation at all?
 

DrRob

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That would depend on the wording of course, always the issue with laws, it's the letter that's hugely important. The apple snail ban for instance is on any trading, regardless of breeding origin. It might be that UK or EU bred would get past the rules if this were to go through, and highlights the fact that, until the rule is fully written, you can't really tell how it's going to affect things. Written correctly it could be bad for prices but great for a UK breeding trade, written another way and it's devastating.
 
That's the trouble with politics.
 

star4

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The wording of this legislation is of all importance, but putting our opinions over to those making the rules is of vital importance now... this line...
 
“Banning the import of wild-caught animals and restricting the number of exotic species
 
This "could" also include farm bred fish, if the wording of the legislation is written as such. I maybe incorrect but to me it reads that the numbers imported will be restricted. For example if this year 2014 (off the top of my head, not an actual figure), 10,000 platys are imported, this number, depending on how the legislation is written, could technically be halved, therefor doubling the end price of such a fish.
 
Another question to ask then is. Would this be beneficial for UK breeders?, or will it open the floodgates to poorly bred fish by, to coin a phrase usually applied to dogs, back yard breeders. Opening another can of worms regarding the welfare of fish.
 
At the moment this is all hearsay as no one seems to know how this will be enforced and what restrictions will be implied, but without making our voices heard to the local MEP's and doing what we can now to save our hobby, it will be no use complaining after it has been passed.
 
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Wills

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Its the use of the term "exotic species" not just wild caught that concerns me so much...
 
 
Taken to its logical conclusion this manifesto promise could cover tropical marine or freshwater fish, corals, soft corals or other invertebrates because all these are either wild-caught and/or exotic (which means they’re not native to Europe, even if captive-bred in the EU). That means they’d no longer be available to buy.
 
If its not found in Europe it could be potentially banned... even if it is farm bred. Like it says above even if captive bred in the EU - it would be banned.
 
Its not just a small blip in responsible fish breeding etc its just an all out stop across the whole of Europe...
 
Wills
 

l_l_l

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Wow, that's pretty serious.
What they should do is have people get a "fishkeeper" permit.
Just like a driver's license, you'd have to go through some tests first, etc.
 

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While I hate anything the EU does because it's run by a bunch of unelected commissioners and a whole population of civil servants whose sole job purpose is to keep their jobs by coming up with ludicrous legislation that does nothing but cost everyone else a lot of wasted time and money. That said...
 
...I do worry about the possible decimation (modern use of the word) of wild tropical fish (and marine, but I don't know much about those) by wholesale capture of these creatures for export with probably very little concern for future stocks.
 
I think any legislation should cover endangered species and perhaps a medium-term ban on their import by any country to ensure survival. However, unless the ban is world-wide there would be no point. If the EU banned the import of, say, Clown Loaches and the USA didn't then prices in the US would fall and more fish would be imported there.
 
I see little point in banning the keeping of fish which are captive bred but I do think that more emphasis should be put on the quailty of 'keeping' in the same way we look at dogs, cats and other domesticated species. As a delivery driver I visit people's houses and have occasionally seen lonely rabbits kept in cramped cages, unloved and unwanted and it is these people that I would love to be banned from keeping animals.
 
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Wills

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The problem is its not just about animal welfare in the home, its all of the way fish are being kept and traded as well as issues surrounding bringing in animals from outside of the EU to the EU...
 
The topics on wild caught fish have always been problematic... its like fish shops, some are good some are bad. A lot of wild caught fish are actually caught very young and grown on in facilities before they are shipped, leaving the parents and adults in the wild to keep on breeding and living. But there are other situations like Star4 pointed out like the RBTS that are no longer found in the wild and similar things happened when Galaxy Rasbora were found and Denison Barbs... But again I question the viability of keeping some fish exclusively in the wild... which sounds ludicrous but with fish in the Amazon that is being covered in hydro electric dams, these are going to just slaughter fish particularly those that have to migrate for their life cycle.... Then in Asia that have the most polluted rivers - the diversity in the Yangteeze in China is shocking! From millions of species including river dolphins down to a few hundred thousand.... As daft as it sounds but captivity actually protects a huge diversity that is not going to be there in the next 10 years.
 
Wills
 

looking-glass

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i dont think the EU would take this seriously the aquatics trade alone as well as the pet trade is a huge source of income across the economies of Europe to even consider things like that - however you never know so i will look into contacting my local MEP to see his views on it :) 
 

star4

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Wills said:
Its the use of the term "exotic species" not just wild caught that concerns me so much...
 
 
Taken to its logical conclusion this manifesto promise could cover tropical marine or freshwater fish, corals, soft corals or other invertebrates because all these are either wild-caught and/or exotic (which means they’re not native to Europe, even if captive-bred in the EU). That means they’d no longer be available to buy.
 
If its not found in Europe it could be potentially banned... even if it is farm bred. Like it says above even if captive bred in the EU - it would be banned.
 
Its not just a small blip in responsible fish breeding etc its just an all out stop across the whole of Europe...
 
Wills
 
 
Lets not forget this does not apply just to fish, if it does happen to include any exotic (none european) animals which are bred in captivity. No more budgies, parrots, reptiles etc. Then where would it go next?To bring in such a blanket legislation of "if its not native to europe its exotic" so you would be OK to own a German Shepherd dog, but not a japanese akita? it sounds so silly, the argument being "well a dog is a domestic pet", but my fish are my pets.
 
Definition of the word domestic taken from the net...
 
do·mes·tic

[duh-mes-tik]



ADJECTIVE


1.

of or pertaining to the home, the household, household affairs, or the family: domestic pleasures.



2.

devoted to home life or household affairs.



3.

tame; domesticated.



4.

of or pertaining to one's own or a particular country as apart from other countries: domestic trade.



5.

indigenous to or produced or made within one's own country; not foreign; native: domestic goods



 
Many "exotic" animals that could be within this legislation do tick all of the above, including fish.
 
It is a very worrying situation.
 
 
I have already mailed my views to my local MEP's begging them to say no on this manifesto.



 
 
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Wills

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Thats a really good point Star! I hadnt even considered dogs and cats. Dogs could get through though since they are technically all the same species but just different breeds... but then there are things like chow chows, tibetian mastifs and chinese crested that are so distintly non european that you have to wonder how the law could hold up...
 
It actually gives me a bit of hope in that sense as at that level of animal it starts to get huge corporations involved. If there are less breeds of dog in Europe then there are less dogs in Europe which is going to upset huge companies that have a lot of political swing.
 
Im trying to get some facts together but plan to get a letter off to my MEP this weekend - her constituancy is all of yorkshire and the humber so there are going to be a lot of businesses affected which I will enjoy listing out :)
 
Wills
 

star4

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I have been sending out e-mails where I can with the link to the oata site to anyone within the pet trade.
 
The list of trade that this ban would affect is huge. Manufacturers, breeders, food suppliers and manufacturers, large and small retailers, even internet based busineses and forums would all suffer. 
 

malfunction

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I can't imagine the EU would introduce a blanket ban on exotic pets - surely even they're not that foolish. It would have a destructive effect on industry, and at a time when almost every government in Europe is desperate to facilitate economic recovery, I can't imagine anyone would go anywhere near a law that effectively would cripple a section of their economy.
 

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