The Aquarium Industry Association of Australia (AIAA) has announced that it will wind down operations and re-align with the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA), with a mutual goal of defending and growing Australia’s aquatics sector.

This news comes just weeks after the Australian Pet Care Association (APCA) announced that it would also be winding down and merging operations with the PIAA.

Anthony Ramsey, President, PIAA, said this is an exciting period for the PIAA, having reunited with both APCA and AIAA in the space of a month.

“This is testament to the trust and confidence PIAA has restored with the wider industry over the last eight months. The association is now stable and our membership again growing, it provides a great foundation to launch into the year ahead,” he says.

As part of the arrangement, the AIAA’s functions, operations, and current membership will be consolidated and incorporated into PIAA’s Aquatics membership sector. PIAA will extend PIAA membership to all current AIAA members for the remainder of the financial year.

By combining resources, the PIAA will collectively represent more than 100 Australian aquatics sector business, enabling a greater voice in representing the aquatics industry to government, as well as the possible reestablishment of industry sector awards, member networking events and continued support of consumer expos.

Jared Patrick, President, AIAA, said that the decision to merge operations with PIAA was made in order to provide a more streamlined service for members and the industry as a whole.

He said: “The AIAA initially formed during a period of considerable flux within PIAA with the aquatic side of the industry not being represented adequately at the time. This has now changed, with several AIAA committee members (Jared Patrick, Gary Parker, Andrew Millen, and Kevin Erickson) being invited to be a part of the PIAA Aquatics Working Group, the aquatics side of the industry is now being represented well.”

Concerns that AIAA previously held around how the aquarium industry had previously been represented under the PIAA have been rectified under the governance of the new PIAA Board. The two associations have collaborated on new allowable fish species applications, and jointly participated in government advisory and technical working groups.

Under its new management, PIAA has introduced significant reforms to its governance and management that see the aquatics members in charge of their own sector.

Following the formal winding down of AIAA, any remaining funds could (with current AIAA members approval) be allocated to the PIAA for dedicated use of the Aquatics Sector Working Group and used in implementation of the priorities and projects identified by the group.

Patrick says that he hopes that by minimising the resources needed for the administration of two separate associations, it will maximise the resources available to defend and grow the aquatics industry.

He says: “The PIAA Aquatics membership sector’s role is to represent the aquatics side of the industry to government. Current issues at hand include a biosecurity review of imported marine and freshwater fish as well as a review of the species of fish able to be imported. Additionally, as resources allow, the PIAA Aquatics team promotes the hobby direct to the end consumer. An example of this is the PIAA representation at the Melbourne Pet Show this coming weekend in Melbourne.”

To stay up to date on the latest industry headlines, sign up to the Pet Industry News e-newsletter.