Habitattitude encourages aquarium
owners and water gardeners to avoid unwanted introductions of
non-native species by adopting simple prevention steps when faced
with an unwanted aquatic plant or fish:
- Contact a retailer for proper
handling advice or for possible returns.
- Give or trade with another
aquarist, pond owner or water gardener.
- Donate to a local aquarium
society, school or aquatic business.
- Seal aquatic plants in plastic
bags and dispose of in the trash.
- Contact a veterinarian or pet
retailer for guidance on humane disposal of animals.
"Beginning this fall, when aquarium
hobbyists, backyard pond owners and water gardeners purchase fish or
plants for their tanks or ponds, they'll receive the Habitattitude
message," said Marshall Meyers, executive vice president and general
counsel of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. "Through
collaboration with NOAA's Sea Grant Program, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, state fish and wildlife agencies, the American
Nursery and Landscape Association, and other industry partners, we
plan to get Habitattitude in front of millions of consumers."
Habitattitude materials will be
displayed in aquarium stores, aquatic retail outlets, hobby
magazines, and nursery and landscape businesses across the country,
as well as on packaging of related products.
A new website,
will help consumers to learn more about responsible behaviors and
how to prevent the spread of potential aquatic nuisance species. The
site includes information on federal and state laws and statutes
that regulate aquatic organisms, recommended alternatives to
releasing plants and animals, instructions on how individuals and
clubs can get involved, and detailed information on some of the more
problematic aquarium and water garden species that have created
problems with our native aquatic systems.
"The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
Report details how we should coordinate public education and
outreach efforts on aquatic invasive species with the aim of
increasing public awareness about the importance of prevention,"
said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D.,
undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator. "This program
falls right in line with that recommendation. Non-native plants and
animals can cause irreparable harm to the environment and can damage
recreational and commercial uses of our aquatic resources."
"Invasive species have become a major
concern for natural resource managers in North America," said Dick
Warner, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant director. "Habitattitude
will provide pet owners and water gardeners information that
will enable them to help them prevent the spread of such species."
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"Habitattitude builds on the successful
government, business and citizen partnership that is helping stem
the spread of the zebra mussel across the United States," said U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams. "While most
invasive species come into the country as hitchhikers through
commercial trade, some aquarium owners and water gardeners have
unknowingly complicated the challenge invasive species pose for
conserving America's wildlife and landscapes. Habitattitude will
give them the knowledge they need to help them prevent invasive
species introductions and conserve the natural world they appreciate
Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
and its members, who represent 70 percent of the U.S. pet industry
and 90 percent of the aquarium industry, have committed over $1.1
million to the campaign. Their contribution leveraged an $89,000
grant from NOAA's National Sea Grant College Program to
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and a $100,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service effort. For its part, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant has
developed a multifaceted outreach plan to educate retailers,
aquarium hobbyists and garden pond owners in support of the
NOAA is dedicated to protecting and
preserving our nation's living marine resources and the habitat on
which they depend through scientific research, management and
enforcement. NOAA's stewardship of these resources benefits the
nation by supporting coastal communities, while helping to provide
safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities
for the American public. To learn more about NOAA, visit
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is
the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting
and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the
continuing benefit of the American people. To learn more about the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College
Program is one of 30 in the National Sea Grant College Program.
Created by Congress in 1966, Sea Grant combines university,
government, business and industry expertise to address coastal and
Great Lakes needs. Funding is provided by the National Oceanic
Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University at
West Lafayette, Ind.
news release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council;
provided by Illinois-Indiana