As many of you will be aware, there have been recent changes to the import regulations in Italy, to ban the import and trade of all 'wild animals' including aquarium organisms.
The issue of compliance to this regulation was recently flagged by AIPA, the Italian Pet industry association, and investigations indicate that a number of operators were shipping wild caught fish to Italy that were not properly identified as such, in breach of the Italian regulations. This may in part be due to the process for the import of pet and aquarium being somewhat unclear in Italy which has led to confusion amongst industry operators as to how they are to identify captive bred versus wild caught organisms – it should also be noted that public aquariums in Italy can still import wild caught species which further complicates the regulations. However, this does not rule out the possibility of operators knowingly falsifying documents to enable them to
be shipped to Italy illegally.
While we are opposed to this regulation as there is no scientific basis to it, OFI does not condone any illegal activity. As an industry with international supply chains, we have the responsibility to ensure we trade only in those species that can be traded legally, and within the national and international legal requirements of the countries we are trading in. Last weekend the OFI President sent an email to all OFI members reminding them of this fact. We are pleased to say that many members contacted us after this to lend their support to our statement.
It should also be noted that many OFI and other industry members are dedicating significant resources to improving the sustainability of our industry through training of collectors, supply chain improvements, coral reef restoration and management, captive breeding programs, etc. These types of activities are to be applauded and no doubt put these operators at the forefront of the future of our industry.
OFI believes it is vital to the future of our industry that we behave in a responsible manner and operate our businesses within the law, whether we agree with the specific laws or not. Illegal activities jeopardise
s the effects of our industry’s combined efforts to build a sustainable future and put at risk the whole institution of pet and ornamental fish keeping.