Ornamental plants and animals that are accidentally or deliberately released into the wild can establish reproducing populations, 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.
On 1 July 2017 the NSW Government implemented the new Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Act). Under Schedule 2 of this Act there is a list of fish species declared as Prohibited Matter in NSW. It is illegal to possess, buy, sell or move any fish listed as Prohibited Matter in NSW. Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance. In addition, NSW DPI has the power to seize and require the destruction of these pests.
Under Schedule 1 of the Biosecurity Regulation 2017 there is a further list of pest fish species that are notifiable and are illegal to possess, buy, sell or move in NSW. Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance. In addition, NSW DPI has the power to seize and require destruction of these pests.
In 2006, "A Strategic Approach to Management of Ornamental Fish in Australia" (the Strategy) was developed to provide a consistent approach for managing ornamental fish across the states and territories.
On 16 December 2016, the NSW government introduced changes to the NSW Pest Fish List as part of a consistent approach to the management of ornamental fish throughout Australia. The full list of prohibited ornamental fish species can be found at the NSW Ornamental fish update.
The NSW Pest Fish list can also be found in legislation at: