Control of pest fish

If you catch a noxious fish such as a:

  • carp      
  • weatherloach      
  • climbing perch      
  • gambusia  
  • tilapia      

you must kill the fish as quickly and humanely as possible.

Biosecurity Queensland advocates the ethical euthanasia protocols recommended by the 2001 ANZCCART publication: Euthanasia of animals used for scientific purposes.

The most appropriate method may involve stunning the fish via a sharp blow to the back of the head just above the eyes. When applied correctly, this causes brain destruction—the fish's gill covers should stop moving and its eyes should remain still.

After killing the fish you need to dispose of it as soon as practicable. It is recommended that you bury it a suitable distance from the waterway where it was caught or dispose of it in a rubbish bin.

Banned as bait

You cannot use noxious or pest fish as bait. These fish must not be returned to the water dead or alive.

How to stop the spread

Recreational fishers

  • Don't transfer pest fish between waterways—don't use pest fish as bait.      
  • Obtain a permit to stock fish. Buy fingerlings from a registered hatchery to minimise the chance of contamination with undesirable species.      
  • Don't return pest fish to the water. If you catch a pest fish, kill it humanely and dispose of it appropriately.      
  • Prevent unwanted hitchhikers—check, clean and dry your boats and gear between waterways.      

Ornamental fish enthusiasts and backyard pond owners

  • Don't dump fish—give unwanted aquarium fish to friends or a pet shop instead of letting them go in the wild.      
  • Prevent accidental escapes—screen outdoor ponds to prevent overflow during heavy rains.      
  • If possible, keep native fish instead of exotics—contact your local aquarium or Fisheries Queensland on 13 25 23 for information on local native fish species.      

Fish farmers

  • Prevent accidental escapes—comply with aquaculture permit conditions designed to prevent the escape of fish (e.g. screened water outlets).      
  • Don't experiment with exotics—keep to the prescribed species list.

Last updated 01 July 2016