OATA Conference 2008

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The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) held its biennial conference in Buxton last week.

Aquatic industry professionals gathered to hear presentations from representatives from 15 organisations including Project Piaba, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Trading Standards, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), the Reptile and Exotic Pets Trade Association (REPTA), Aquatic Diagnostics and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Project PiabaProfessor Ning Labbish Chao of Project Piaba was the first to speak, advising the audience of the importance of his buy a fish, save a tree campaign.

His hour-long lecture told of how buying wild-caught fish from the Rio Negro, and the Cardinal tetra in particular, generated income for 60% of the population of Barcelos, a riverside town in the state of Amazonas.

Chao said this was helping to alleviate poverty while providing a sustainable, green form of income, and was revealing lots about biodiversity at the same time.

RSPCAThis was in direct contrast to the words of the next speaker - John Rolls, the Director of Animal Welfare Promotion at the RSPCA - whose policies seemed to alienate many areas and companies involved in the trade of ornamental fish: