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PIJAC Covers Multiple Legislation Issues During Town-Hall at Aquatic Experience

Hot-button legislation issues in the pet industry dominated the town hall-like atmosphere during the annual Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) Aquatic Experience Legislative Update, which was held at the Aquatic Experience show at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill., in November.

Hundreds of Aquatic Experience attendees—including aquatic and fish hobbyists, full-time professionals, retailers and industry experts—were on hand for updates regarding the Hawaii ornamental fishing industry and state-level aquatics and invasive species issues that are being tackled by lawmakers and the industry in Michigan.

“Every year, hundreds of people nationwide come to the PIJAC Legislative Update,” said moderator Robert Likins, PIJAC’s vice president of government affairs. “This year was no different, except that the focus was much sharper due to the threats facing the industry.”

Attorney Jim Lynch addressed court decisions that could close much or all of Hawaii’s ornamental fishing industry during a phone call. Andrew Rhyne, Ph.D., an expert in marine biology, described a study he is conducting on the accuracy of the accepted method for detecting the use of cyanide in fishing during another phone call.

In addition to Rhyne’s work, Chris Buerner of Quality Marine described how a PIJAC-funded study examining the detection of cyanide in ornamental fish could better identify when it has been used.

Likins, Buerner and other speakers were in-person for their presentations. Preuss Pets owner Rick Preuss, who is based in Michigan and also runs a pet industry radio show, told attendees about challenges in his state related to invasive species and other aquatics issues.

Sandy Moore, president of Segrest Farms and co-chair of the PIJAC Aquatics Committee, spoke on industry funding of aquaculture efforts and the limitations and ecological benefits of both farm raised and wild caught aquarium fish.

Buerner closed out the Legislative Update by asking attendees to donate to PIJAC’s efforts in Hawaii. He, Moore, PIJAC board chair Laura “Peach” Reid and other town hall attendees presented PIJAC with donations to assist with the association’s fight against industry opponents.

“This funding is necessary to fight two recent court decisions that may shut down Hawaii’s professional and hobby fishers, as well as to work with state officials on an environmental impact study,” said Buerner and Moore after the Legislative Update. “These alone will easily cost the industry more than $200,000—in addition to activists’ efforts in Maine, Michigan and elsewhere.”