Reporting aquatic pests and diseases

Report a fish kill

A fish kill is defined as "a sudden and unexpected mass mortality of wild or cultured fish". Fish kills can be very visible events that generate considerable public and media interest. This is largely due to the fact that people perceived fish kills to be the result of pollution or contamination of waters.

In fact, there are many causes of fish kills, and are often due to natural events. Fish kills in the wild should be reported to a Fisheries Officer, a Fisheries Conservation Manager if in regional NSW or the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH, formerly DECCW) if in the Sydney Metropolitan Area.

Fisheries Officers can be notified by phoning:

  • Fishers Watch 24 hour hotline 1800 043 536 or
  • your local NSW DPI Fisheries office, and ask to speak to a Fisheries Officer

For more information on fish kills and how you can report them, read:

Reporting aquatic animal diseases

Unusual disease signs, or unexplained deaths in cultured or wild fish, should always be reported to NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI).

The presence or suspected presence of a declared disease must by law be reported to a Fisheries Officer. Take a photo of the fish if possible and see links below for information on preserving the fish.

For other information on reporting suspected diseases in NSW, including completion of the:


Aquatic Biosecurity and Risk Management
Port Stephens Fisheries Institute
Ph: 02 4982 1232

More information on reporting:

Report a pest species

Early detection of an aquatic pest population is critical! Once a pest fish has established in an area, it is very difficult, if not impossible to eradicate.

What should I do if I find a pest?

If you think you've seen any of the marine or freshwater pest species listed on this website, please either take a good quality digital photo and email it to us, or collect a sample of the organism. If it's a fish, place it in a plastic bag and freeze it. If it's a sample of seaweed, take the piece(s) home and carefully dry them between two sheets of blotting paper. Report your sighting to the DPI Aquatic Biosecurity Unit.

To report a sighting

DPI Aquatic Biosecurity
Port Stephens Fisheries Institute
Nelson Bay NSW 2315
Fax: 02 4916 3979