​Marine pests threaten Australia's unique marine environment and marine industries

Over 250 introduced marine plants and animals have hitch-hiked to Australian waters on vessels of all types from yachts to commercial ships. Some have displaced our native species from their habitats, changing our coastal areas and damaging our fishing, aquaculture and tourism industries.

Want more information about marine pests in Australia?

Looking for detailed information on a particular marine pest species? search NIMPIS - Australia's marine pest information system.

Stopping the spread

Getting rid of introduced marine pests once they have established is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Like cane toads and rabbits, they can multiply quickly and force out native species. Others (like toxic algae) can pose a threat to human health.

To protect our marine environment and industries, the Australian and state/territory governments along with marine industries and marine scientists are implementing the National System for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pest Incursions.

The National System aims to prevent new marine pests species arriving, guide responses when a new pest is discovered and minimise the spread and impact of pests that are already established in Australia.

All vessel owners and operators and marine aquarium suppliers have an important role in stopping these pests. To discover what you can do, click on the tab that applies to your vessel class or marine industry, or on the appropriate image below.

Recreational boating section - thumbnail image

Recreational boating

Recreational fishing, sailing, cruising
Fishing section - thumbnail image

Fishing and aquaculture

Commercial fishing, aquaculture
Commercial shipping section - thumbnail image

Shipping and ports

Cargo, container and livestock vessels, bulk carriers, cruise ships
Petroleum - thumbnail image


Petroleum rigs and equipment, related support vessels
Non-trading vessels - thumbnail image

Non-trading vessels

Barges, dredges, defence vessels, chartered vessels
Aquarium - thumbnail image


Marine aquarium importers, breeders, traders, retail outlets, hobbyists