Ballast water

Ballast water is water used by ships to maintain stability and trim. Ballast water can spread marine pests between locations. Marine pests pose a serious threat to Australia’s ocean environments and industries.

Discharge of ballast water in Australian waters is regulated by law in the Biosecurity Act 2015 and some other related delegated legislation.

The Australian Ballast Water Management Requirements explain how to comply with Australian law while operating a ship in Australian waters.

Vessel operators should also:

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

Report it

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.


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