World Pet Association supports Project Piaba
Project Piaba, a nonprofit with a 25-year history of protecting the Amazon rainforest, has partnered with World Pet Association (WPA), which unites the pet community through knowledge, integrity, innovation and leadership.
The nonprofit studies and fosters the Rio Negro aquarium fishery in Brazil’s Amazon. The fishery is a beneficial trade that helps protect the rainforest, while also offering fair prices for fish and sustainable livelihoods for the people of the region. Project Piaba recognized that the aquarium fish trade of the Amazon had the potential to foster stewardship of the surrounding rainforest, and coined the phrase “Buy a Fish, Save a Tree.” The fish are captured with extremely low impact methods, using handheld nets from dugout canoes.
Studies show that the fish populations continue to thrive as long as their environment remains intact. The whole community understands that the fish are healthy when the forest is, which incentivizes habitat protection.
Hoping to inspire a new generation of conservation-minded fish hobbyists, WPA developed a partnership with Project Piaba.
“I’m so honored the World Pet Association is helping us with our important work, alongside fishing communities, conservation groups, scientists, and government,” said Scott Dowd, executive director of Project Piaba. “Conservation succeeds when all stakeholders work together and the World Pet Association is an important partner in the work we do.”
Dowd was an Indianapolis Prize nominee and is a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. He leads a team of Project Piaba volunteers in Brazil, U.S., Europe and other countries who have dedicated years to research Amazon fisheries and protect the Amazon.
“Project Piaba brings a whole new meaning to new fish owners around the world,” said Jacinthe Moreau, president of WPA, “we look forward to our continued support and doing whatever we can to encourage consumers to buy a fish to save a tree.”
WPA and Project Piaba offered a two-week expedition to Brazil to an attendee of Aquatic Experience, the industry’s show featuring “everything aquatic under one roof,” for hobbyists, retailers and consumers. Contestants recorded a short video to share how they would make a difference contributing to Project Piaba’s important work with the Rio Negro aquarium fishery.
The partners have since announced the winner: Alex Wenchel, a documentary producer and science communicator based in Washington, D.C. Wenchel spent the majority of his career working for National Geographic, producing entertaining and educational stories for television, the web, and the stage. In 2017, after more than 20 years in the aquarium hobby, he created a YouTube channel on aquascaping and aquarium care for amateurs and professionals alike. His channel, Tank Tested, reaches hundreds of thousands of viewers every month, delivering cinematic footage of aquatic life and in-depth interviews from experts in the aquarium world.