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Re: P@H Strike again.

Subject: Re: P@H Strike again.
by longhairedgit on 3/5/2009 0:02:03

Personally I find OATA a bit biased. They are trying to manage the middle ground, keeping stockists and coinsumers happy, but they don't strike me as being run as an organisation with a great deal of wisdom. You see their chosen position is one of an innate conflict of interest, you see theres two sides to every argument.

They claim to represent both the trade and fishkeepers interests but as consumers and stockists we have to be careful what we ask for. OATA for example will not back trade bans on countries and on certain species generally, thusly defying what I would regard as good quarantine standards. Some of the standards papers they have issued for fish health and mainrtenance are founded on positively archaic attitudes, and have more than a profound lean towards allowing low standards to keep the big fish traders in business. Here and there though they do push the odd good standard, but against the bigger picture of what they willingly allow, I find such measures to largely be futile concessions, token gestures if you will.

Lets be honest here, if OATA were the force they would wish to be, the face of fish trading in this country would be very different. That it isnt, and that it is still a highly exploitative industry in terms of staffing and pay conditions, fish importation standards, stocking standards, and distributed advice suggests to me that they are simply not forfulling their remit properly.

I wish OATA well in its mission, but I also wish they would do a lot better, have the courage of some of their convictions and do the right thing a little more often, and be less afraid that industry will walk away from them and disregard them if they dont sell out every other week. They also need to appreciate that sometimes its a case of giving fishkeepers what they need, not necessarily what they want, and that goes triple for the corporates, who frankly will do just about anything if you let them, the theme usually being max profit and animal death an irrelevance, and further on from that faux education of the young which leads to animal abuse.

I think OATA is like a lot of regulatory organisations in this country, a case of best intentions gone awry against the force of monetary gain and powergames. Net result, largely ineffective, and the one time mission for the better side of things becomes the cover from which the less scrupulous hide from any critical gaze. These are the favours you have to pay back after your rise to power , just like politics. Too many fingers in too many pies, all pulling the organisation in opposite directions to the point that avoiding conflict of interest is totally impossible and the only way to structure in that godawful position is to spout rhetoric, never collate, never cross-check and never unify direction. To get things done, sooner or later, you will have to really p**s a major corporate off, because its in the nature of corporates to take a mile when offerred an inch. They will have to p**s some hobbyists off too, because some people will never want to hear there are some fish they should never own for resons from ecology to disease transmission and animal abuse, and often over import , exploitation and species decimation.

If I were appointed a directorship of OATA i'd tear it apart and drop p&h in the brown and sticky in about 5 minutes, and stop ringing of fish through germany and get source checks going on asian import to the corporates as fast as it could possibly happen. I'd be ensuring fish imported and sold in britian went through quarantine without fail, and I'd also be putting a hell of a lot of companies under pressure to conform with some genuine fishkeeping principles, and some clear and transparent product labeling, and those sub 10 gallon tanks would be coming off the shelves asap.

I don't see them as regulating much TBH. Every time I hear of them having done something I just think- "so what, doesnt mean anything".