Under the Fisheries Management Act 1994, certain diseases of fish or marine vegetation can be ‘declared diseases’. These diseases are listed in Schedule 6B of the Fisheries Management Act 1994. The owner or occupier of areas such as aquaculture farms or leases, pet shops, commercial aquariums, research establishments or farms containing a dam must notify a fisheries officer if they become aware that it is or may be infected with a declared disease. There are heavy penalties (up to $55,000 for a corporation and $11,000 for an individual) for intentionally or recklessly transmitting a declared disease to live fish or marine vegetation, selling fish or marine vegetation which are known or suspected to be infected with a declared disease, or depositing infected fish or marine vegetation in any waters.
The Minister can also make an order to declare a quarantine area where a declared disease is present or suspected to be present. Such orders can prohibit the taking of fish or marine vegetation from the quarantine area, and can require the holder of an aquaculture permit to take certain actions (including the destruction or treatment of fish or marine vegetation). There are heavy penalties for contravening a provision of a quarantine order, up to $110,000 for a corporation or $55,000 for an individual.
Primary Industries implements fishing closures for many different reasons, including protection of fish stocks or vulnerable habitats. Fishing closures can also be used to help limit the spread of pests, weeds and diseases.