How PIJAC Fosters Environmental Stewardship
PIJAC supports the goals of the international Project Piaba, and stands with those who sustainably collect, transport and export the Cardinal tetra fish and others around the world.
Earth Day, which will be celebrated this year on April 22, was founded in 1970 to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment. As part of its mission, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) fosters environmental stewardship to ensure that we all have a healthy Earth to live on.
Environmental health is part and parcel of our legislative agenda. As readers of this blog know from our recent post, PIJAC and Hawaii fishers worked with leading scientists to create a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA). Supported by substantial peer review, the DEA concluded that the Hawaii aquarium fishing trade is sustainable. It was presented to state regulators for a period of public comment earlier this month. We hope the DEA will be a significant step in getting Hawaii’s fishers back in the water.
Beyond legislation, PIJAC supports the goals of the international Project Piaba. This research effort in Brazil, which has been ongoing for decades, aims to protect both fisher jobs and the local environment. We proudly stand with those who sustainably collect, transport and export the beautiful Cardinal tetra fish and others around the world. Likewise, Project Piaba’s research surrounding this trade and its related environmental impacts is amazing. This sustainable field of work is, however, at risk due to activist groups, infrastructure and seasonal challenges, and other market forces.
As described on the Project Piaba website, without the Cardinal tetra aquarium fish trade many locals might be required to find less environmentally sustainable forms of employment. This would be a major problem for everyone who cares about protecting Earth from unnecessary destruction.
Finally, we continue to make progress on our Habitattitude public-private partnership with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS). Habitattitude aims to make the public aware of the totality of responsible pet ownership as it relates to preventing invasive species. This ranges from choosing the best pet for one’s circumstances (habits), protecting the environment from negative impacts of unwanted pets (habitats) and assisting pet owners in finding alternatives to releasing their pet into the wild (attitudes).
Habitattitude applies to a host of companion animals, though mostly aquatic and herp species. PIJAC was proud to promote Habitattitude and our other invasive species prevention work during National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), which we sponsored for the first time in 2018. Check out photos of PIJAC president Mike Bober with NISAW organizer Rick Otis and USFWS’ Craig Martin at the official NISAW Capitol Hill reception, and our Pet Product News blog post on our participation in several of the week’s events.
PIJAC isn’t alone in caring for our environment; the World Pet Association, Petco and other prominent members of the responsible pet trade donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Coral Restoration Foundation. These donations have helped restore coral reefs and educate the public about ocean sustainability.
Robert Likins is the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) vice president of government affairs. Since 1970, PIJAC has protected pets, pet owners and the pet industry—promoting responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, fostering environmental stewardship, and ensuring the availability of pets. PIJAC members include retailers, companion animal suppliers, manufacturers, wholesale distributors, manufacturers’ representatives, pet hobbyists, and other trade organizations.