Live fish may only be imported for the aquarium industry trade. Live fish for human consumption, pet food, aquaculture or as household pets are not permitted imports to Australia.
Conditions for importing live ornamental fish
You need an import permit to import live ornamental fish to Australia. Only permitted species may be imported from approved countries.
The live ornamental fish import conditions, including the list of permitted species and approved countries, can be found in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON).
The import conditions for live ornamental fish are classified into two categories:
Approved arrangement site
Before applying for a permit to import live ornamental fish, applicants must establish or have access to a facility approved for the isolation of imported fish (called an approved arrangement site). The facility must comply with class 7.1 approved arrangement criteria.
Applying for an Import Permit
Once you have an approved arrangement and are aware of the import conditions, you need to apply for an import permit. Information about applying for a permit, can be found in BICON.
Frequently asked questions
No. All live fish must be permitted species, as listed in the import conditions, before being imported to Australia. The List of specimens taken to be suitable for live import (also called the Live Import List) created under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, contains all permitted species.
If a specimen is not on the Live Import List, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry would need to conduct an assessment of potential impacts on the environment if the specimen were to be imported, before the species can be added.
Should the Minister approve a species for import and add it to the Live Import List, the biosecurity risks posed by the import of that species may require assessment. This may require a biosecurity import risk analysis.
All species must be included on the Live Import List before the department would consider conducting a biosecurity import risk analysis.
For more information and how to apply for an amendment to the Live Import List, visit the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
No. Garra rufa are not a permitted import to Australia for any purpose (including therapeutic uses).
If you suspect, or have evidence, that someone may be breaching Australian biosecurity requirements you can make a confidential report via the department’s free call service – Redline (1800 803 006).
Alternatively you can contact the department’s Compliance area by email.
No. Live fish cannot be imported for aquaculture. The department has not conducted a biosecurity risk analysis or developed import conditions for live fish for aquaculture.
Only live tropical rock lobster (Panulirus ornatus) caught exclusively in the Torres Strait Protected Zone and imported from Papua New Guinea may be imported into Australia.
No. Live oysters cannot be imported to Australia because the department has not conducted a biosecurity risk analysis and has not developed import conditions for live oysters.
The import conditions for oysters (dead) for human consumption can be found on BICON.
No. Live abalone cannot be imported to Australian because the department has not conducted a biosecurity risk analysis and has not developed import conditions for live abalone.
The import conditions for abalone (dead) for human consumption can be found on BICON.
No. Australia only allows the importation of live ornamental fish from approved countries, as listed in the import conditions.
In order for a non-approved country to become approved, the Chief Veterinary Officer of that country would need to submit a request to the Australian Government for approval. Following the request, the department would need to conduct a risk assessment of that country’s fish export program before considering approval.
The department has approved a list of aquarium chemicals, treatments and antibiotics for use during the isolation period. The use of such substances is subject to conditions and further details can be found at Approved Aquarium Chemicals, Treatments and Antibiotics.
Only substances on the list can be used during the isolation period unless the department has provided specific written approval for an alternative.