Big Fish Campaign - Put a Stop to Big Fish in Small Ponds

Check out the dedicated campaign website:

The 'Big Fish' campaign is an initiative set up by NAW (National Aquarium Workshop) and the BIAZA Aquarium Working Group, following research that indicated that over a period of just 4 months, 11 UK aquaria were asked to house 144 fish that had outgrown their owners' tanks. 
More and more frequently, fish of all shapes and sizes are being imported into the UK aquatics trade. A large percentage of these fish appear in general pet stores and are sold to unwary customers who do not expect their pet fish to grow to such enormous sizes and are left with a 'BIG' problem as a result of inadequate space or equipment.   
Zoos and aquaria are being inundated with public donations of all sorts of fish species. Although members of the pubic may see this as the perfect solution for their problem, it creates problems for the aquaria themselves. It is often very difficult for them to mix donated stock with their own stock and they often lack the space to provide a purpose built home for the donated fish.  
Therefore the zoos and aquariums in the UK decided to launch the Big Fish campaign to stop the problem. The campaign first launched in Nov 2005 is back for 2012 and working with the trade to tackle the issue. It aims to raise public awareness about the need to make sensible, informed decisions when choosing pet fish.

The Big Fish campaign aims to:

  • Encourage the public to research properly the fish species that they wish to own as pets
  • Overturn the notion that fish will never outgrow the size of their tanks
  • Reduce the sale of these species in pet stores to protect their welfare  
  • Alleviate the problem of public aquaria being pressurised into accepting these big fish

Handy hints for fish keepers:

  • Think about what kind of things will the fish need - food, tank size and system
  • Think about how much time you will have to look after the fish
  • Think about your budget as buying a fish is a long term commitment 
  • Think about quarantine facilities for sick fish 
  • Remember that your tank system will need to mature before you add the fish 
  • Try to buy fish that have been bred in captivity 
  • Always quarantine your fish before adding them to the tank 

What have we done so far?

  • In December we got a great article in PBW News (Aquatic Trader Article Dec 2011 pdf). This was followed by an initial piece on the PFK website which was sent out to 60000 people on their database ( Both publications are very much behind the campaign and hope to publicise it as much as possible with a number of articles.
  • PFK are going to work on a symbol (something like a circle with a fish and a red line through it) to indicate that a shop has signed up to the campaign and that it does not sell big fish. They will also be setting up a link from their facebook page where people can go to download the poster.
  • All Pets at Home stores are supporting the campaign and will be displaying the logo (that’s 315 stores nationwide!)
  • Paul Hale from London Aquarium and Jamie Craggs from Horniman Museum are looking into possible press opportunities for later in the year such as the One Show and possible celebrity backing.
  • We have produced a Children’s quiz sheet (Big Fish Quiz Sheet (2012) pdf). Please use this if you would like or make your own.
  • Aquatics Live 2012, Olympia London – we hope to be there with the Big Fish Campaign this year and are speaking to the organisers.
  • are on board. This site attracts in excess of 20,000 unique users and almost 100,000 page views per week (mostly from the United States, UK and Europe but we also have significant traffic from India, Australia and Singapore) but they are very keen to promote Big Fish for us. They have offered to host a dedicated information page, also with a download link for the poster. Link to Big Fish on seriously fish website.
  • In the Summer of 2012 the dedicated campaign website was launched: If anyone has any articles, press releases, photos, stories of their own Big Fish Campaigns please send them on to Sean at Wharf aquatics.

What can you do?


To help UK aquariums halt the trade in Big Fish species, please contact campaign coordinator, Peter Burgess [email protected] or the Aquarium Working Group Chair Katy Duke [email protected]. 



Text size A A A

T +44 (0) 20 7449 6599

Paignton Zoo's Great Big Rhino Project has made crucial donations of cash to wildlife conservation on two continents. The Project is to give £60,000 to support work in Africa and South East Asia to protect rhinos in the wild. More

Collaborative research by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Bristol Zoological Society and the Comorian NGO Dahari has revealed the Livingstone’s fruit bat is likely to be the most endangered fruit bat in the world. 


New data released by WWF and ZSL (Zoological Society of London) today reveals that overall global vertebrate populations are on course to decline by an average of 67 per cent from 1970 levels by the end of this decade, unless urgent action is taken to reduce humanity’s impact on species and ecosystems.


Bookmark and Share