A NSW Government website

Prohibited ornamental species

Ornamental aquarium plants and animals that are accidentally or deliberately released into the wild can establish reproducing populations and become pests, often with disastrous impacts on native aquatic ecology. Once established, aquatic pests can be very difficult, if not impossible to eradicate. To reduce the risk of this occurring, some ornamental species have been listed as prohibited or notifiable in NSW, while other species are listed as prohibited for importation into NSW.

The full list of prohibited and notifiable aquatic species can be found in the Primefacts: Notifiable aquatic freshwater pests in NSW and Notifiable aquatic marine pests in NSW.

Compliance with all prohibited and notifiable species listings is mandatory by law. Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance.

The NSW Pest Fish list can also be found in legislation at:

Management of ornamental fish in NSW

Since 2006, a national working group has been tasked with addressing the deliverables from the Strategic approach to the management of ornamental fish in Australia (PDF, 1263.39 KB). This has included completion of a number of biosecurity and invasiveness risk assessments of ornamental fish known to be in circulation in the ornamental fish trade in Australia. The results of these assessments were used to produce a national noxious fish list, agreed to by all governments as well as industry and hobby groups.

Species on the national noxious fish list are declared in NSW under the Biosecurity Act 2015 as prohibited and notifiable matter.

The national Freshwater Vertebrate and Invertebrate Working Group (FVIWG) is continuing to collaborate with the aquarium industry and hobby representatives to finalise the assessment of the national ‘grey list’. This is a continuation of the process that commenced in 2006 and may result in additional ornamental fish species being recommended as high-risk and to be placed on the national noxious fish list. The project aims to assess a further 500 ornamental fish species on the national 'grey list'.

Risk assessment outcomes will inform recommendations for the management of these ornamental fish species including the potential listing of further high-risk species on the national noxious fish list following consultation with stakeholder groups.