COVID-19 Recreational Fishing in Tasmania - Inland Fishing- FAQs, updated Wednesday 20 October 2021. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, please download the government's COVIDSafe app.

Ornamental Freshwater Fish

The Inland Fisheries Service has oversight of ornamental freshwater fish within Tasmania. The Inland Fisheries Act 1995 and subordinate legislation set out the rules and regulations.

Can I bring my aquarium with me when I move to Tasmania?

Maybe. This will depend on what the fish are.

All Tasmanians have a General Biosecurity Duty. This means everyone has a role to play in protecting our unique environment against biosecurity risks.

The first thing to do is check the permissible imports list and make sure the species of fish you wish to bring are on the list. If they are not on the list, they cannot come into Tasmania.

If they are on the list, you will still need a permit to bring them into Tasmania. Please lodge an exemption permit application. There is a fee for an exemption permit. We will consider your application, on biosecurity and compassionate grounds.

Make sure to include on the application:

  • a declaration that the fish are healthy and free of diseases
  • the address of where the move is from and to.

Your application will be assessed by the Director of Inland Fisheries.

Please be aware, even with an exemption permit issued by the Director of Inland Fisheries, the fish could be seized at the border by Biosecurity Tasmania, please check their website for information about live fish imports.

I have a home aquarium and have unintentionally bred fish. Can I sell them?

No.

The fish may be kept but cannot be sold.

The Inland Fisheries Act 1995 supports and protects the ornamental fish industry through the requirement to register. Registered Fish Dealers operate a commercial business trading in ornamental fish.

To receive a registration to be a fish dealer, applicants need to demonstrate their intention to form a business with biosecurity and disease management. The source of fish must be declared at the time of application and the conditions under which the fish are kept before sale are assessed to ensure they are of a safe standard.

Can I import fish directly from a dealer on the mainland for my home aquarium?

No.

Ornamental freshwater fish can only be imported by a Tasmanian Registered Fish Dealer.

The importation of ornamental freshwater fish by anyone other than a Tasmanian Registered Fish Dealer will only be considered on compassionate grounds, such as moving to Tasmania and wishing to relocate a home aquarium, and then only if the fish are on the Permissible Imports List.

To receive a registration to be a fish dealer, applicants need to demonstrate their intention to form a business with biosecurity and disease management. The source of fish must be declared at the time of application and the conditions under which the fish are kept before sale are assessed to ensure they are of a safe standard.

Please contact a Tasmanian Registered Fish Dealer who may be able to help you.

Can I bring an ornamental freshwater fish into Tasmania as a gift?

No.

The importation and sale of fish is restricted to Tasmanian Registered Fish Dealers. Registered Fish Dealers operate a commercial business trading in ornamental fish.

Please contact, and purchase fish from, a Tasmanian Registered Fish Dealer.

Selling and trading in freshwater ornamental fish

The background:

Selling and trading in ornamental (aquarium) freshwater fish is called ‘dealing in applicable fish’ under the Inland Fisheries Act 1995.

The Inland Fisheries Service has oversight of ornamental freshwater fish within Tasmania. The Inland Fisheries Act 1995 and subordinate legislation set out the rules and regulations.

The Tasmania Freshwater Tropical Aquarium Fish Species - Permissible Imports list the freshwater ornamental fish that can be imported into, and dealt, within Tasmania.

If you wish to set up a commercial operation dealing in applicable (ornamental freshwater fish) you are invited and encouraged to talk with the Commercial Fisheries Officer before you lodge an application. They can be reached on 6165 3808 or by email to infish@ifs.tas.gov.au.

The application form and fees can be found on the IFS website

What the legislation says:

The Inland Fisheries Act 1995 (IFA) talks about ‘applicable’ fish’. To help understand what it means, here is a (not completely comprehensive) summary:

applicable fish means a kind or species of fish declared under section 60;

Inland Fisheries Act 1995 section 3 (interpretation)

What does this mean? The Inland Fisheries (Applicable Fish) Order 1996 answers this:

4. Applicable fish

The following freshwater fish are declared to be applicable fish for the purpose of Division 1 of Part 4 of the Act:

  1. eels;
  2. whitebait;
  3. any acclimatised fish;
  4. any imported fish.

Inland Fisheries (applicable Fish) Order 1996 Act section 4

What is ‘dealing’ with applicable fish? The IFA says:

Definition of "dealing with applicable fish"

A person deals with applicable fish if the person –

  1. imports the fish for commercial purposes; or
  2. sells the fish; or
  3. processes or treats the fish for commercial purposes; or
  4. manufactures or obtains any substance from the fish for commercial purposes.

Inland Fisheries Act section 61

The IFA then goes on to say

A person must not deal with applicable fish except where the person is a registered fish dealer and does so under the authority of, and in accordance with, a fish dealer's registration certificate.

Inland Fisheries Act section 62 (a)

However, a registered fish dealer is authorised to:

carry on one or more of the following activities as specified in the fish dealer's registration certificate:

  1. importing all, or a specified species or a specified kind of, applicable fish;
  2. selling a specified species or a specified kind of applicable fish;
  3. processing or treating a specified species or a specified kind of applicable fish;
  4. manufacturing or obtaining any substance from all, or a specified species or a specified kind of, applicable fish for the purpose of sale.

Inland Fisheries Act section 66