Releasing fish in public waters

Safe transport of fish and stocking code of practice

Application to stock public waters in NSW (freshwater) (PDF, 82.78 KB)

  • A fish stocking permit is required for fish stocking in public waters such as rivers, creeks and impoundments.

Requirements for releasing fish into NSW waters

Fish are released into waterways by individuals, groups and the government to enhance recreational fisheries and to preserve threatened species. Fish stocking also provides cultural and socio economic benefits to the community. The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) is responsible for the management of fish stocking. Fish stocking cannot take place without a fish stocking permit, issued by NSW DPI. A permit can be obtained free of charge, however fish stocking conditions or restrictions may apply.

Fish are released into waterways by individuals, groups and the government to enhance recreational fisheries and to preserve threatened species. Fish stocking also provides cultural and socio economic benefits to the community. The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) is responsible for the management of fish stocking. Fish stocking cannot take place without a fish stocking permit, issued by NSW DPI. A permit can be obtained free of charge, however fish stocking conditions or restrictions may apply. To apply for a freshwater fish stocking permit complete the application (PDF, 82.78 KB) to stock public waters in NSW and submit it to the address outlined on the form.

Keeping fish is fun, but releasing fish from your aquarium, pond or other sources can pose a serious threat to our aquatic environment. Many fish are not native to Australia or to your local area and if released are difficult to eliminate and can pose a serious threat to fragile ecosystems and important industries, as they can breed and compete with local native species for food and space. They may also spread disease and parasites, and damage natural habitats.

Don't release any fish in public waters without a permit and don't discard unwanted fish. Give unwanted aquarium fish to friends or a pet shop, or dispose of them in a humane manner, rather than letting them go in the wild. Prevent accidental fish escapes by screening outdoor ponds to prevent overflow during heavy rains.

It is illegal to release fish into public waters in NSW without a fish stocking permit. For more information call 02 4916 3835.