A Strategic Approach to the Management of Ornamental Fish in Australia

Aquarium fish make great pets, but if they are released into the wild they can pose a serious threat to Australia’s aquatic biodiversity. Ornamental fish and aquarium plants can be dumped or released, often making their way into our waterways. This has resulted in a number of exotic fish species establishing a presence in Australia, seriously affecting the biodiversity of our freshwater systems.

Whereas some control is already occurring, through quarantine regulations and State fishery regulations, there is no consistency between the regulatory agencies dealing with the issue of noxious, aquatic pests. Despite several attempts to regulate the industry, nothing workable has eventuated.

To address this problem, the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council has endorsed a national strategy – A Strategic Approach to the Management of Ornamental Fish in Australia. The strategy was developed by the Ornamental Fish Policy Working Group in close consultation with industry and other stakeholders. It looks at the potential for aquarium fish to become pests and makes seven main recommendations on managing and regulating their trade. Key recommendations include the need for a nationally recognised noxious species list; new management frameworks for the ornamental sector, better communication with stakeholders and a public awareness campaign on the dangers of releasing fish where they can get into waterways, and what to do with them if they are no longer wanted.

A copy of the national noxious fish list is available here (download below). The list will be incorporated into the fisheries regulations of all jurisdictions in the near future. A copy of the strategy is available for download free from the BRS shop – go to: https://www.brs.gov.au/shop and select fisheries publications, or follow the link below.

Author Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council
Date null
Year 2007
Publisher Natural Resource Management Standing Committee
Institution Natural Resource Management Standing Committee
Department Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Notes Notes
Region Australia - national