What you can do

Everyone who uses our NSW aquatic environment, whether for recreation, hobby or business activities, has an essential role to play in maintaining our biosecurity.

Understanding how you can help protect our economy, environment and community from the negative impacts of aquatic pests and diseases is important. Click the links below to read more about how you can meet your general biosecurity duty as:

  • Recreational waterway users
  • Commercial fishers
  • Aquaculture farmers
  • Aquarium enthusiasts

Members of the public such as fishers, divers and members of local environmental groups, are often the first to notice a new aquatic pest species or the fact that an existing pest has spread into a new area. This information can be very valuable in helping to manage pest problems.

Please report any suspect pests or diseases. Early detection of an aquatic pest population is critical! Once a pest has established in an area, it is very difficult, if not impossible to eradicate.

Recreational waterway users

As a recreational boat user or fisher, you have a responsibility to reduce the risk of the spread of aquatic pests and diseases from your activities. Practising good biosecurity can help reduce the threat to NSW waterways.

  • Make 'Clean' Part of your routine - Ensuring your boat and gear are kept clean to reduce the spread of pests and diseases from one waterway to another. Be sure to check your vehicle, boat, trailer and gear before entering a waterway and clean them all down when departing.
  • Keep your moored boat free of fouling by applying a suitable antifouling paint, and cleaning and renewing it when persistent fouling occurs.
  • Avoid boating, swimming and diving near known populations of introduced aquatic pests (such as Caulerpa taxifolia).
  • Be aware of local conditions and possible restrictions by paying attention to and following all signs and warnings
  • Don’t use prawns or other seafood meant for human consumption as bait.
  • If you catch your own bait use it only in the waterbody it came from.
  • Dispose of wastes (including human seafood waste purchased from retailers) in a rubbish bin away from the water.
  • Report anything unusual!

Commercial fishers

Good biosecurity is about awareness and action. Commercial fishers may be the first to notice an emerging disease, a fish kill or a new pest species, and rapid reporting to DPI can help minimise the impacts of the establishment of a new aquatic pest or disease.

You can help minimise the potential impact on NSW waterways and oceans by:

  • Keep everything clean.
  • Clean gear and vessels after use.
  • Keep your vessel free from biofouling. Look out for pests or growth. Remove anything you find on your gear and dispose of it on land in general waste if cleaning in-port.
  • Use locally sourced bait  to prevent the introduction of pests and diseases.
  • Return bycatch to the sea as near as possible to the point of capture.
  • Report anything unusual!
Useful links

Aquaculture farmers

Developing an enterprise level Aquaculture Biosecurity Plan will help you and your staff reduce biosecurity risks and support a rapid response to any suspected incursions.  A Biosecurity Plan will provide you with clear guidance about practises you should adopt every day and clear guidance for staff and visitors about what they must do to minimise biosecurity risks to your farm.

Other actions you can take include:

  • Research pests and diseases relevant to your cultivation species. See Disease Management in Aquaculture for more information.
  • Be on the look-out for biosecurity problems that can affect your business, industry or the natural habitat.
  • Talk to all farm visitors about the importance of biosecurity.
  • Check equipment when moving on or off-site for unwanted hitchhikers.
  • Reporting – make sure you know when to contact DPI Aquatic Biosecurity and your aquatic veterinarian for assistance.

Aquarium enthusiasts

Keeping fish is fun, but it is important to make sure that living things in your aquarium or home pond are kept away from our oceans and waterways and that you are aware of your responsibilities. Most of the fish, snails, and plants you keep are not native to your local area or to Australia in general.

What you can do to help:

  • Don't dump that fish!

Aquarium fish, snails or weed should NEVER be released or disposed of into the wild. It is illegal!

Outdoor ponds should be designed so that fish cannot escape or be washed out during heavy rain.

Any unwanted aquarium fish should be either given to a pet shop, friend or disposed of humanely.

  • Keep native fish as an attractive alternative to exotic fish in aquaria.
  • Take care cleaning tanks or ponds. Tip wastewater on the garden; place solid waste like plants or gravel in the bin or bury them.
  • Design fishponds so that plants, snails, fish or eggs can’t escape during heavy rains, and screen all overflow areas.
  • Don't buy fish, plants or ‘live rock’ from overseas on the internet – it’s illegal! Use a reputable local dealer.
  • Don’t deal in prohibited ornamental fish – you could be fined! Schedule 2 of the Biosecurity Act lists fish species declared as Prohibited Matter in NSW which it is illegal to possess, buy, sell or move.
  • Report anything unusual!