Fish stocking involves the practice, by government and private groups or individuals, of stocking natural waterways, manmade waterbodies and/or the freshwater reaches of coastal drainages with native fish and/or salmonids. This can be done to enhance fishing for recreational and Aboriginal cultural purposes, for religious and ceremonial purposes, and to rebuild depleted native fish populations.
The stocking of hatchery-bred fingerlings has the potential, if not carefully managed, to introduce diseases into wild populations where they may not already occur.
A Fishery Management Strategy (FMS) for freshwater fish stocking in NSW was finalised in 2005. The FMS incorporates plans to better manage the production of fish by government and private hatcheries for stocking purposes. This includes the development of a quality assurance and accreditation scheme for hatcheries to increase the certainty that fish supplied for stocking have been produced using best practice techniques including management of disease risks.