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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
STOCKTON FWO: Aquatic Invasive Species Program Reaches Out to Aquarium Hobbyists and Vendors at the 2009 International Marine Aquarium Conference-West
Region 8, July 30, 2009

by Julie Wolford, Aquatic Invaisve Species Program, Stockton FWO 

The Service’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Program (ANS) displayed its Habitattitude during 2009 International Marine Aquarium Conference-West (IMAC-West) July 31 - August 2, 2009, in Long Beach, Calif..  This educational conference, held aboard the historic Queen Mary Hotel, is an annual event for marine aquarium hobbyists, manufacturers and vendors from the fish and reefing industry.  The Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program from the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office attended and set up a Habitattitude booth for outreach and educational purposes. 

 

Habitattitude is a public awareness campaign sponsored by the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force partnership representing the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA National Sea Grant College Program.  Habitattitude is about consumer awareness and responsible behaviors.

 

Julie Wolford and Jonathan Thompson from the AIS Program spoke to many hobbyists and vendors about Habitattitude and the campaign’s important message of being responsible pet owners by not releasing fish or aquatic plants into the wild.  Some alternatives to releasing unwanted plants or pets into our environment are to give or trade with another aquarist, pond owner or water gardener, give them back to the store where purchased, post “free pet” on-line ads or donate to a local aquarium society or school.  Aquatic plants can be properly disposed of by placing them into a sealable plastic bag and into the trash.

 

Habitattitude also provides campaign materials with the “Do Not Release Fish and Aquatic Plants” message on them for vendors to distribute through sales of fish, coral and aquatic plants.  This message was welcomed by all and vendors expressed their support and the need for increased consumer awareness about the growing aquatic invasive species challenge.  Ultimately, the campaign seeks to eliminate the release and survival of any species outside of your enclosed, artificial system, which has the potential to cause the loss or decline of native plants and animals.

 

The AIS booth also supplied consumers and vendors with outreach literature about local nonnative invasive aquatic species such as, Caulerpa taxifolia (Killer Seaweed), Hydrilla verticillata (freshwater weed), Myriophyllum spicatum (Eurasian watermilfoil) and Potamopyrgus antipodarum (New Zealand mudsnail).  Brochures on “Don’t Plant a Pest” for responsible water gardeners and “Conserving America’s Fisheries”, both US Fish and Wildlife brochures, were also distributed during this event. For more information on Habitattitude visit http://www.habitattitude.net/. For more information on aquatic invasive species visit the ANS Task Force at http://www.anstaskforce.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov