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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Report a pest

Aquatic pests can pose economic, social, cultural, human health and environmental impacts. They can arrive in Western Australia in various ways. Once well established, they are virtually impossible to eradicate. To increase the chances of a timely response and eradication, early detection is essential.

Aquatic biosecurity is a shared responsibility and you can play an important part by reporting anything unusual. If you think you have seen or found an aquatic pest you can follow the steps below and report it to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.  

Report an aquatic pest

1. Record it
  • Location (GPS coordinates, address or nearest landmarks).
  • Date and time.
  • Size.
  • Colour.
  • Water depth where found.
  • Environment (such as beach, sand, rock pools, in weed, on water, river, attached to structure).

2. Photograph it

  • Photograph it as soon as possible, before preserving or refrigeration.
  • Photograph the entire sample undisturbed and include surroundings.
  • Photograph the sample close up; use an object for scale – ruler, coin, thumb. Include any characteristic marks or colours.
  • Use a neutral non-reflective background.
  • Check that photos are in focus and well-lit.​

3. Report it

Please report it to us through any of the following:

Note: You should never release non-native species into the wild. Fish tanks and ornamental ponds should be designed so fish can’t escape. Unwanted aquatic fish and plants should be taken back to suppliers or disposed of humanely. To dispose of fish humanely, put them to sleep in an ice slurry, then freeze them and discard them in municipal waste.

4. Collect it

In most circumstances it is better to report the detection of a suspected aquatic pest using the steps above, before attempting to collect it. If you have caught a suspected aquatic pest (such as an Asian Paddle Crab in your crab pot), take photos, then store the sample/s in a ziplock plastic bag or plastic container.

  • Complete a label using a pencil (date, collectors name and contact details, location and any other details listed above in Step 1. Record it) and place it in the bag with the sample.
  • Store the sample in a cold esky or fridge. Do not freeze it (unless there is no other way to preserve it).
  • FishWatch will advise where you can drop off your sample - usually your local DPIRD office.

For further advice about the best ways to preserve samples for analysis, you can contact our Aquatic Pest Biosecurity section at

Report an aquatic disease

If you see evidence of any fish diseases, or unexplained deaths in cultured or wild fish, please report it to our Aquatic Animal He​alth​ Laboratories as soon as possible through any of the following:

  • FishWatch on 1800 815 507
  • WA aquaculture licence holders should report via the WA aquaculture hotline, as per their aquaculture licence conditions

Report a fish kill

If you see a fish kill please report it immediately through any of the following:


Last modified: 31/08/2022 4:13 PM

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