Identification of pest fish

The main pest fish species that fishers are likely to encounter are:

  • carp  
  • chinese weatherfish (weatherloach)  
  • climbing perch  
  • gambusia  
    and  
  • tilapia.  

These species are restricted noxious fish under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and they must not be kept, fed, given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit. By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with restricted  noxious fish under their control. 

The full list of restricted noxious fish can be found in the Biosecurity Act 2014, Schedule 2, noxious fish.

  • Carp Etch Carp

    Species identification information for carp including distribution, habitat, diet, reproduction, and environmental impacts.

  • Climbing perch: restricted noxious fish Climbing perch

    Species identification information for the climbing perch

  • Gambusia or Mosquitofish: restricted noxious fish Gambusia or mosquitofish

    Species identification information for the gambusia or mosquitofish

  • Chinese weatherfish: restricted noxious fish Chinese weatherfish

    Species identification information for the Chinese weatherfish or weatherloach

  • Tilapia Mozambique mouthbrooder: restricted noxious fish Tilapia

    Species identification information for tilapia including distribution, habitat, diet, reproduction, and environmental impacts.

Other pest fish

Prohibited noxious fish are fish that should not be found in Queensland. A list of these species can be found in the Biosecurity Act 2014, Schedule 1, noxious fish.

Other pest fish are not prohibited or restricted noxious fish under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

They are living in an area where they are not naturally found and may be from another country, state or catchment. For example:

A goldfish

The goldfish is a pest fish if released into a waterway.                        

  • Ornamental goldfish can be a pest fish if released into the wild.          
  • A fish that is naturally found in the northern part of Queensland (e.g. banded grunter) would be classed as a pest fish if it was found in waterways in South East Queensland.          

By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with pest fish under their control.

Fish that are native to Queensland, but have established beyond their natural or stocked range are:    

  • Redclaw crayfish: These are naturally found in the Gulf of Carpentaria drainage division and from the Jacky Jacky River basin south to the Normanby River basin on the east coast of Queensland. Due to people using them as bait and stocking them into dams outside this range, they have established populations      in      several    waterbodies in Queensland.          
  • Sooty grunter: This species naturally occurs in the coastal rivers north of and including the Burdekin River, Gulf of Carpentaria and west to the Daly River in the Northern Territory. They have also been stocked into many northern Queensland dams. Sooty grunter have been found in the Mary River catchment.      There      is    concern that they will impact on Mary River cod which are threatened.          

How pest fish spread    

Pest fish are introduced to our waterways when:    

  • people dump aquarium fish into creeks and ponds (e.g. goldfish, sailfin mollies, guppies, platys)          
  • they are introduced as sportfish (e.g. carp, salmon, perch, trout)          
  • people use fish from other catchments as live bait          
  • people stock the wrong fish for their area into dams and ponds which overflow into other waterways.          

If you find a fish that is not native to the area,call the Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23 or report it online.    

Further information      

Last updated 01 July 2016