Keeping fish in aquariums or garden ponds is a popular hobby. There is also a growing trend in rearing fish for personal consumption and through aquaponics – where fish are reared for the table, while their nutrient-rich waste is used to help grow organic vegetables.
Whatever reason you keep fish, it is important you prevent them, along with any other aquatic animals and plants, from escaping into our oceans and waterways.
The deliberate or accidental release of aquatic plants and animals can lead to pest species establishing themselves in the natural aquatic environment. This can have a disastrous impact as the pest populations often out-compete and sometimes prey on native species.
Keeping your fish healthy and happy can reduce the risk of them contracting, and therefore potentially spreading, water-borne diseases – a significant threat to the aquatic environment.
Tips for keeping healthier fish:
make sure you are catering for the specific needs of the fish species you are keeping and not mixing aggressive with passive species;
maintain good water quality in your tank or pond;
remove and dispose of sick fish quickly;
don’t overfeed your fish; and
don’t overcrowd your tank or pond.
Don’t release or dispose of fish in the wild
If an aquatic pest or disease becomes established in the natural environment it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate. To reduce this risk, we have banned some fish from being kept or imported into WA by placing them on our noxious fish list.
Regardless of whether a fish is listed as noxious or not, you should never release non-native fish, aquatic animals or plants into the wild. Fish tanks and ornamental ponds should be designed so fish can’t escape.
Unwanted aquatic animals should be taken back to suppliers or disposed of humanely - the RSPCA has further details; search their website using the term ‘humanely euthanase fish’.
Translocating (moving fish)
Under State legislation, ‘translocating’ or moving live fish between regions of Western Australia and importing them into the State from another part of Australia requires translocation authority or approval.
Non-commercial aquaculture and aquaponics
Both these areas of fish-keeping are growing rapidly in popularity. If you are considering taking up either activity, it is important you are aware of the differences between keeping fish as a hobby and for commercial purposes. The latter requires an aquaculture licence.