OFI (Ornamental Fish International) has received the terrible news that its Secretary General, Dr. Alex Ploeg, his wife Edith, their son Robert and his friend Robin, perished in the plane crash above Ukraine on Thursday, 17 July. They were on their way to a well-deserved and much-anticipated vacation in Asia.
Our condolences go out to their daughters, Mirjam and Sandra, family and friends.
The loss of Alex and Edith is immeasurable to OFI. Alex was much appreciated worldwide and a fount of knowledge about our industry. He was a keystone, not only for us, but also for EPO (European Pet Organization), Dibevo (the Dutch Pet Trade Association) and other organizations.
Alex’s vast amount of contacts ranged from ministers to top civil servants in Brussels, Den Hague, Singapore and elsewhere, but also with workers on the floor, breeders and collectors. When he spoke, everyone in our industry listened.
His ability to express complex issues simply and logically made him a much-asked-for speaker at international conferences.
My wife and I have known Alex and Edith for more than 25 years when he and I were breeding fish together on the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean. Even though we moved to different continents, we never lost touch and I have seen his children grow into wonderful adults. A few years ago he asked me to assist him in the OFI secretariat and I gladly accepted, and he, Edith and I worked very well together as good friends in mutual respect and understanding and with a lot of humor.
Roberto Hensen, OFI Secretariat
I worked closely with Alex over the past 8 years and he has taught me about the world of NGOs, politics, negotiations, the future of OFI, good food, humor, etc. We will miss him and Edith and our task is to continue much stronger with the pathway they prepared for our industry, friends and relatives.
This tragedy has affected us deeply. We have lost very special people and for us, Alex, Edith and Robert will be missed forever.
Gerald Bassleer, OFI President
I have worked closely with Alex in OFI and the European Pet Organization (EPO) for more than a decade. He surprised everyone with his enormous knowledge and immense intellectual capacity, and captured people's hearths through his genuine friendliness. Alex and I effectively cooperated in meetings, seminars and conferences all over the world. More importantly however, we shared fantastic moments together as close friends with a deep mutual respect and understanding, sometimes joined by his family. We have had fun! Alex, Edith and Robert will leave a void that will be difficult to fill.
Svein A. Fosså - OFI, EPO & NZB
Alex, the hardworking man to promote the growth of aquatic industry and building OFI, the man who always available to provide the best advices and support for us, but the most thing we will miss about is your fatherly, caring smile, hugs, and warm welcome we always get from you and Edith every time we met. To us, we have lost a very close friend. Alex and Edith, you will be greatly missed and we surely will keep the good memories in our hearts. Rest in Peace Alex, Edith, Robert, and Robin. Our thought and condolences go out to Mirjam and Sandra who have lost the families –
Sun Sun and Theresia Aquazone Indonesia
Dr. Alex Ploeg is one of the few outstanding Dutch that has made a great impact in the ornamental fish industry worldwide. A man that is always jovial and focused.
He was representing OFI as the Secretary General since 2004, and that was when we first met him and he was pouring us with information and was giving us a very condensed but very concise breakdown of what is OFI .
We were utterly impressed with his enthusiasm and knowledge. Alex became friends with all of us in Qian Hu and when we met on many occasion , we were always sharing our views and knowledge and most importantly talking about life and future.
Alex has given his life time to the ornamental fish industry, and was never stingy on sharing his knowledge and advise to all.
His legacy will live on forever.
Alex, our friend , our guru, you will always be in some part of our life and will be remembered forever.
Alex, Edith, Robert and Robin...
Rest In Peace.
Alex Chang PhD., Qian Hu Corporation
Alex was a BIG man...and not in physical stature alone. Always with a ready smile, he was also a giant within the international ornamental aquatic industry community, equally admired and respected everywhere he went. Having known him for over 20 years and worked closely with him for the majority of these, we can unreservedly say that will be sorely missed, not only by those of us who knew him well, but also by countless others within the sector who have experienced and benefitted from the many contributions that he has made in his dealings with governments, agencies and other decision-making bodies related to the industry.
Our thoughts are now with his two surviving daughters, Mirjam and Sandra, who, somehow, have to face the horrendous prospect of life without their father, mother and brother, taken from them in a moment of unbridled madness.
John and Vivian Dawes - Former OFI Secretary General and Administrator
First and foremost Alex and Edith were lovely people. Good natured, friendly and humorous were just a few of their qualities. I was lucky to meet and know them both and I will miss them. I did not know their son Robert directly but Alex and I did exchange family stories.
On a professional level I spoke to Alex regularly, often daily. We co-operated on many issues of relevance to the UK ornamental trade. We never tried to decide who achieved what when we were successful rather enjoying our success in working together. Alex provided the working basis of species which was used in the recent Import of Live Fish Act revision. The quality of his work is reflected by so few noticing any difference. He, I and colleagues in Germany worked to remove the threat of import controls that could have followed if a listing of species susceptible to EUS (a fungal disease that can affect many tropical species and be carried by cold water species) had not been revoked by the EU. When the Invasive Regulation was in the European Parliament he unselfishly made sure I was invited to see to see key MEP's and to various meetings. His knowledge, his contacts, his style (always well informed and organised prior to meetings) his openness and willingness to collaborate on and discuss issues means he will be missed by those who knew him and by the global industry.
Keith Davenport, OATA
Alex, such a nice person. We met each other in Fuzhou Ornamental Fish Competition 2012.We became good friends. He was a hardworking man. We learned from him what OFI does for the trade and joined as member. We had a lot of nice talks about the trade, work ,family and life. We do cherish the time we had together, Alex,
Edith, Robert, Robin rest in peace.
Zhang Qi and Fan Tianjin, Longhun International
I just returned from Singapore, everyone in our industry is devastated with the loss of Alex, Edith, Robert and his friend Robin.
Alex started our tropical fish activities back in 1997 for which we owe him great thanks, we have worked with Alex closely in OFI Netherlands and later in OFI International and where happy when Edith joined to take care of the accounting part for OFI.
Alex has played an irreplaceable role in expanding the OFI network and building relations with officials World Wide,
Most of all Alex was always there, totally independent without prejudice, just helping all off us in the same fair way.
I do not think anyone in our industry has made more friends then Alex, Alex and Edith will be greatly missed.
We cannot even imagine the feeling of this unexpected loss for his daughters Mirjam and Sandra, their family and friends and wish them strength in handling this enormous loss.
Robert Jan van den Enden – Aquatic Wholesale Group – Netherlands
Alex was a very well respected, knowledgeable, humble, smart, witty good friend and mentor, who guided me through the ornamental fish trade world.
In our very short four years, we have met at exhibitions, eaten our way through them and laughed. He also generously shared, and helped me get up to speed with Aquarama in the beginning. Most recently, we have been discussing and looking forward to OFI’s 30th anniversary bash for the coming Aquarama. We would speak almost weekly on skype to catch up, help each other, check on stuff and share on contacts. He has always been there for us, very prompt and impartial.
Goodbye Alex, my big Dutch friend…you are sorely missed. Goodbye Edith and Robert. May you rest in peace. Till we meet again.
Very best regards,
UBM Media (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Shocked and deeply touched we take fare-well of Alex, Edith and Robert. Alex was our companion for many years, not only as secretary general of OFI but also as a colleague during his years at Aqualog. Owing to his winning personality and his outstanding communication skills he knew marvelously how to bring people together.
What has happened is inconceivable. However, we stay assured that Alex will survive not only in our memories but also in the success of the ornamental fish business: we definitely owe to his unfailing commitment and his great negotiation skills that the first drafts for the European fish health directive (2006/88), disastrous for the ornamental fish business, had not been realized. Due to Alex’ intense and constructive intervention in Brussels a policy has developed, which ensures a reasonable and effective disease control, but still did not needlessly obstruct or even eliminate the international ornamental fish business in Europe. The same applies to Alex’ efforts during the late stage of converting the Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome within the EU. Both would have led to extreme encumbrances of the entire ornamental fish business without Alex’ activities.
Thereby the mutual work of Alex and Edith continues living on every single day in our company and in all other European ornamental fish enterprises as well as the ones related to Europe.
Dear Alex, Dear Edith, we are deeply grateful for that!
Our thoughts are with all those, who were very close to Edith, Alex, Robert and Robin, especially with Miriam and Sandra! And we hope that their death, representative for all the innocent people who lost their lives, may lead to a rethinking of all responsibles in this terrible conflict!
All people of Aquarium Glaser