Chair: Chris Buerner, Owner – Quality Marine


Foster collaboration among the aquatic community on pet freshwater and marine fish regulatory and legislative issues impacting businesses, hobbyists, and environmental stewardship in the United States.


The volunteer-led aquatic engagement has existed in various forms throughout Pet Advocacy Network’s history and was formally established in October 2012 in order to effectively respond to an effort to list clownfish and anemones as endangered as well as to address the increasingly complex issues pertaining to the marine ornamental trade.

The Aquatic Committee is also the only Pet Advocacy Network committee with the ability to raise and spend its own funds in pursuit of legislative, regulatory or conservation goals.


Legislative and regulatory issues are a major part of the Aquatic Committee’s responsibility. The Pet Advocacy Network does not oppose reasonable regulation developed with input from the industry as one part of managing risks associated with fish keeping. However, it is imperative that risks are determined through sound science and not speculation, and that regulatory solutions are imposed only within the context of other effective risk management approaches.

The Aquatic Committee engages in a proactive approach that encourages industry-driven management practices to anticipate and avert controversial or damaging incidents. A successful example is the industry and consumer guidance on handling invasive zebra mussels which was developed by committee members in response to an urgent need and a request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This protocol was accepted and disseminated by the USFWS in lieu of the possibility of additional federal regulations and has been duplicated by other organizations and governments internationally.


  • Worked with USFWS to develop Habitattitude™, a program to match consumers with appropriate aquatic pets and ensure that they do not become invasive
  • Authored an open letter opposing a ban on the international wildlife trade that received over 1000 signatures
  • Provided extensive consultation on the 2020 Preventing Future Pandemics Act
  • Funded the development of two Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for the Islands of Oahu and Hawaii in order to reopen the state of Hawaii’s ornamental fishery
  • Funded research into detecting the use of cyanide in wild fish collections

Aquatics Defense Fund

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