Marine pests

There are over 200 introduced species reported in Australian waters, most of which were introduced accidentally by shipping and aquaculture activities.

Marine plants and animals can be transported across thousands of kilometres of ocean on the hulls of vessels and in the ballast water of ships. Most of these organisms will not survive the journey, and those that do survive will not cope with the conditions of their new environment.

Only a few of the marine species that have been introduced are considered pests. They threaten native biodiversity, commercial fisheries and aquaculture industries, and greatly increase maintenance requirements for vessels. These pests may also interfere with port activities.

The Biosecurity Act 2014 lists 33 prohibited species of marine animals and plants.

Further information

  • Keeping marine pests out of Australian waters
  • Queensland marine and pest guide (PDF, 2.8MB)

    Photo credits:
    p21 - Asian green mussels. Photo: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
    p22 - Asian bag mussel shells. Photo: Northern Territory Government
    p23 - Black striped false mussel shell. Photo: Northern Territory Government
    p24 - Brown mussels. Photo: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
    p25 - Harris mud crab. Photo: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
    p26 - Chinese mitten crab. Photo: Stephan Gollasch
    p27 - Japanese seaweed (Wakame). Photo: John Lewis