Help stop the spread of marine pests in Australia. There are simple things you can do to protect the oceans you love to use.
Be aware of the risks. Your boat, yacht, gear, bait or aquarium fish and plants can spread pests and diseases. Know what you can do to reduce those risks.
You know your area. Keep a lookout. Report anything unusual.
Boats, yachts and gear
Marine pests can spread by hitching a ride with your boat and equipment.
They can attach to vessel hulls, anchor chains, buoys, nets, lifejackets and fishing or diving gear. This is known as biofouling. You can help stop biofouling with regular boat and gear maintenance.
Ballast water can also transport marine pests. If your boat or yacht uses ballast water, you must meet Ballast Water Management Requirements.
Protect your boat or yacht.
- Check it regularly. Look in hard to reach areas, like water intake pipes and around the rudder.
- Maintain a protective anti-fouling coating if you keep your boat in the water.
Before you use your boat or gear in a new location, check local requirements with the relevant state or territory authority. They manage marine pest risks in their area.
Check, clean and dry
Keep your boat and gear clean and dry. Do this after every use. Watch the video below on how.
Video credit: Parks Victoria
If you are removing your boat from the water:
- drain your boat, trailer and gear on land
- rinse everything with fresh water and let it dry
- remove all plants and animals from your boat and gear.
Check and clean your boat or yacht. Do this before you move to a new location.
Move your boat or yacht onto a slipway or dry-dock between trips. This will help you remove hitchhiking pests and repair anti-fouling coating.
Niche areas that don’t affect vessel speed, such as sea-chests, are often not cleaned. They can have high levels of biofouling.
Find a local marina. Check with them if you can dry-dock or slipway clean your boat.
You can also arrange to have your boat or yacht cleaned in the water. This should be done regularly.
- Use qualified divers familiar with biofouling and marine pests.
- Follow our in-water cleaning guidelines.
- Check in-water cleaning requirements set by your state or territory authority.
Read more about managing biofouling on your vessel.
Put it in a bin, not in the water.
- fishing lines
- plants or animals
- anything else you removed from your boat or gear.
Fish and other aquatic animals make great pets but if they get into waterways they can become serious pests and spread disease. Some aquarium plants are not native to Australia. They may compete with native species if released.
Don’t let your pet become a pest.
Always check requirements with your state or territory authority.
Check what you can import.
You can only import permitted species from approved countries.
- have a valid import permit issued by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
- comply with all import conditions.
Find out more about importing live fish.
Dispose of fish properly.
Gravel and water may contain fish and snail eggs, larvae, plants or diseases. Dead fish, aquarium rocks and plants can carry diseases that can harm native marine species.
- Don’t release aquarium fish into waterways, or use them as bait.
- Return unwanted healthy fish, plants and rocks to your local aquarium shop.
- Dispose of dead fish and aquarium material to landfill. Do not throw any aquarium material into water ways or flush down the toilet.
Keep a lookout in your area.
Be informed. Look for anything unusual. Help stop the spread of marine pests.
States and territories are responsible for managing marine pest risks in their area. This includes locations where you can clean your boat or yacht.
You must meet requirements set by your relevant state or territory authority:
- New South Wales — Department of Primary Industries
- Northern Territory — Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries
- Queensland — Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
- South Australia — Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA
- Tasmania — Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
- Victoria — Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- Western Australia — Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
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.
Find out what is happening near you.
- Atlas of Living Australia
- Australian Marine Conservation Society
- OceanWatch Australia
- Redmap — spot, log and map marine species
- Reef Check Australia
- Sustainable Seafood Guide
New South Wales
- Download the free NT Fishing Mate app — for fishing rules and information.
- Eye on the Reef program — Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
- Gladstone Harbour — Port Curtis Harbour Watch