Big Fish Campaign - Put a Stop to Big Fish in Small Ponds
Check out the dedicated campaign website: www.bigfishcampaign.org
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 (http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=4729). 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.
- www.seriouslyfish.com 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: www.bigfishcampaign.org. 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?
- Please could everyone make an effort to capture 3 months of new big fish data from phone calls you receive so we can update our survey Feb, March, April 2012: Fish Donation Sheet (doc).
- Link to the Big Fish website from your company website
- Sign up to the supporters list on the PFK website
- We now have a Facebook page! Please ‘Like’ us - BigFishCampaign
- Print out and display the poster: Big Fish Lorry Poster 2012 (pdf)
- Jeremy, Nathan (PFK), Sandra (PBW News) and Matt (Seriously Fish) have all expressed an interest in any ‘horror’ stories, quotes, photos that you might have regarding big fish. Any information like this would be well received to help with articles. Please contact them directly: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]; [email protected].
- Encourage your local pet shops to get involved and support the campaign, give them a copy of the poster, work with them to promote responsible fish keeping.
- Run some Big Fish events: family fun days, how to set up a fish tank demonstration, how to pick fish for your tank, fact or fiction quizzes etc.
- Add information about the campaign into talks given at your aquarium.
- We still have all the original display materials. You are more than welcome to use them however we will try and use the new poster of the van consistently to represent the campaign.
- Please let me know if you run any events or have any PR and remember to take photos etc it would be nice to see what everyone does.
- All ideas welcome! If you have an idea please share it with us.