Marine pests can have a serious effect on your aquaculture business and operations.

They can increase your operating costs and lead to lost income. If marine pests get into your aquaculture farm, they may:

  • damage your infrastructure
  • kill your stock
  • spread diseases
  • affect human health.

Keep your aquaculture facility clean and free from pests. Train staff to identify marine pests. Report anything you find.

Help protect Australia's seafood industry. Find out how to help protect your aquaculture business from pests and diseases. Watch the video.

Transcript - Biosecurity Basics - Harvest and post-harvest (docx 22KB)

Educational resources

The Marine Pest Sectoral Committee have developed educational materials. These materials help raise awareness on marine pests and increase passive surveillance.

The materials consist of posters and A4 fact sheets. Aquaculture businesses can download, print, and share the posters and A4 fact sheets.

Human health

Pests such as oysters or barnacles can attach to your equipment and cut you or your workers.

Some pests are microscopic organisms. In high levels they may be toxic to humans.

Shellfish feed on and accumulate these pests.

This can:

  • create human health issues
  • cause the affected shellfish beds to be closed down.

Keep it clean

Keeping your aquaculture facility clean helps stop the spread of marine pests.

Anything you submerge in water can spread marine pests. This includes livestock, racks, trays, nets, cages, lines, ropes, oyster baskets and vessels.

Protect your aquaculture business and Australia’s waterways:

Avoid any action that could spread pests to a new location.


Marine organisms that attach and grow on submerged surfaces.

Biofouling is one of the most common ways that marine pests spread. They can attach in large quantities on vessels and equipment and move long distances. They will then spread to the next location you use your equipment or vessel.

Biofouling increases the longer a vessel or structure is submerged or when antifouling paint is not regularly applied.

Stock and equipment

Moving stock or equipment? Don't inadvertently move pests or diseases along with your stock. Read the National policy guidelines for the translocation of live aquatic animals and undertake a risk assessment as part of all translocation activities.

Keep your stock and equipment free of biofouling.

  • Look for marine pests or unusual growth on your aquaculture equipment.
  • Clean, treat, and dry your facility and aquaculture equipment.

Use clean equipment to transport stock. Remove anything you find. Dispose of it on land.


Vessels moving between aquaculture locations can spread marine pests.

Check, treat and clean vessels regularly. Include hard to reach areas.

Know your area

Keep a lookout in your area.

Be informed. Look for anything unusual. Help stop the spread of marine pests.

Local requirements

States and territories are responsible for managing marine pest risks in their area.

You must meet requirements set by your relevant state or territory authority:

Report it

See something unusual? Report it. Even if you’re not sure.

If you see something you think is a pest:

  • note the exact location (screenshot your map app or enable photo geotagging on your phone)
  • take a photo (use something for size reference, like a coin or note)
  • contact your state or territory authority.




Plans for aquatic animals: