News Stores Halt Aquatic Sales Over Invasive Species Fears

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Stores halt aquatic sales over invasive species fears
20th May 2021

By Justine Thompson

A Canadian pet superstore chain has stopped selling aquarium livestock in a bid to halt the spread of an invasive species.

PetSmart confirmed it had temporarily ceased sales of aquarium fish at most of its Canadian stores over concerns about spread of the invasive zebra mussel.

UK aquatics retailers have also been warned by the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) to be on the look out for this species, generally found in moss ball products.

OATA chief executive Dominic Whitmee said: “We are not aware that these particular products are for sale in the UK but they might be bought online and enter the UK in that way.

“We would urge the UK ornamental aquatics industry and fishkeepers to be vigilant and play their part in making sure these products don’t enter the UK or go on sale here.”

A PetSmart spokesperson in the U.S. told Global News: “Our top priority is supporting the health and wellness of people, pets and our ecosystem. We immediately instructed our stores to remove impacted moss balls from our shelves and destroy them.

“We are in the process of ensuring our aquariums are treated properly before resuming our fish sales.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada said it had asked some pet stores to stop selling live fish until all aquariums can be properly cleaned and decontaminated.

“The direction prohibits anyone from releasing, transporting, buying, selling, trading or bartering any fish, plants, or other organisms which are located in any aquarium or container that may have come into contact with moss balls and/or contaminated water from moss balls,” it said.


Zebra mussel. Photo: GB Non-native species secretariat