Foreign Fish Species

AFANT is strongly of the view that Northern Australia must learn from the mistakes of the more populated southern areas of Australia in regards to biosecurity and our waterways principally in regards to the introduction of foreign pest species of fish introduced predominately as a result of foreign fish species brought into Australia by the aquarium industry.

Interstate examples include Mozambique Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus), Spotted Tilapia (Tilapia mariae), Carp (Cyprinus carpio)and Pearl Cichlid (Geophagus brasiliensis) just to name a few. While the Northern Territory has experience some outbreaks of foreign pest fish species, most notably that of Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens) in Fogg Dam and on the Adelaide River floodplain to date we have been fortunate that no other serious instances have occurred apart from several minor and isolated incidents in the Darwin locality

Member of the public who release unwanted foreign fish and plants in Northern Territory waterways may not realise the potential damage they can cause.
Foreign fish species can compete with native fish for food and space and dominate waterways by reproducing in large numbers and surviving in adverse and disturbed habitats.

To deal with unwanted foreign fish, please don’t release them in any waterway. The fish should either be disposed humanely or returned to a local aquarium shop. Most aquarium shops are able to take back unwanted fish.It is also important to ensure the overflows of your outdoor ponds are screened to stop fish escaping into the waterways during wet season rains.

Fisheries’ Aquatic Biosecurity Unit maintains a surveillance program to detect introductions of aquatic pests in the NT.
You can help protect our unique waterways by reporting sightings of unusual fish or suspicious trade in fish and aquatic life to the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 891 136.