Moving and stocking live aquatic organisms

Guidelines for assessing translocations of live aquatic organisms in Victoria

The deliberate human-assisted movement of live aquatic organisms is known as translocation.The translocation of live aquatic organisms occurs for various reasons including commercial farming, research, public waters stocking, recreation, display and other purposes.

Translocation into and within Victoria has the potential to threaten the biodiversity and ecological integrity of Victoria's freshwater, estuarine and marine systems. These threats have flow-on consequences, potentially affecting the economic benefits provided by aquaculture, recreational and commercial fishing, domestic and international shipping, and the social and tourism benefits of being able to enjoy waters and foods free of pathogens and diseases.

Once introduced to the wild, a translocated species may establish a viable breeding population. In the event that this occurs and the species becomes a pest, control or elimination may be extremely difficult and often impossible.

Guidelines have been developed to provide a risk assessment and administrative framework against which to assess proposals to move live aquatic organisms into and within Victoria. The Guidelines establish a transparent basis by which Victoria will meet the requirements of the National Policy for the Translocation of Live Aquatic Organisms (1999).

See the Guidelines for Assessing Translocations of Live Aquatic Organisms in Victoria.

Protocols

The department has developed Protocols for the most common types of translocation. Each Protocol includes control measures to achieve effective risk management for those translocation activities.

There are two types of protocols; those protocols that cover commercial activities and public water stocking, and those associated with non-commercial activities.

Commercial and public waters stocking protocols

Protocol for the Translocation of Fish in Victorian Inland Public Waters

Victorian Abalone Aquaculture Translocation Protocol

Abalone Aquaculture Biosecurity Protocol Audit Guidelines

Victorian Protocol for the Translocation of Blue Mussels

Victorian Protocol for the Translocation of Aquatic Animals to Recirculating Aquaculture Systems

Victorian Protocol for the Translocation of Eels

Victorian Translocation Protocol for Commercial Freshwater Open Aquaculture Systems on Private Land

Translocations that conform to one of the Protocols above may be considered and approved without the need for a full risk assessment.

How to apply

Step 1: Initial Screening Application form

The Initial Screening Application [MS Word Document - 70.1 KB] is used to assess the proposed translocation and determine whether a full risk assessment is required. Email your form to fish.translocations@vfa.vic.gov.au

Step 2: (if advised by The Victorian Fisheries Authority): Risk Assessment form

The Risk Assessment Proforma [MS Word Document - 49.1 KB] should only be completed if an Initial Screening Application has been submitted and assessed by The Victorian Fisheries Authority as requiring a full risk assessment.

Non-commercial protocols

To improve administrative efficiency and reduce risk, a range of non-commercial translocation and stocking protocols have been developed. The approved non-commercial protocols are:

How to apply

Complete the appropriate non-commercial protocol ensuring the listed conditions are able to be met. Email your form to fish.translocations@ecodev.vic.gov.au. Failure to adhere to the conditions of the relevant protocol, for a non-commercial translocation and stocking of fish, may result in a breach of the Fisheries Act 1995 and lead to prosecution.

If you would like to stock your farm dam, please visit the Fish in farm dams web page for further information.

Persons who wish to undertake a non-commercial translocation and stocking of fish that does not fit one of the approved non-commercial protocols is required to complete an initial screening application.

The Translocation Evaluation Panel

Applications for translocation and stocking of fish are first assessed for completeness by the administrative officer of the Translocation Evaluation Panel (TEP) prior to assessment by the TEP, who provide advice to the Secretary, The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) or delegate who will consider the advice of the TEP before making a decision on the application.  

Members of the TEP are appointed by the Secretary, VFA or delegate, to provide expert advice about the translocation of live aquatic organisms. Membership includes:

  • up to four non-VFA persons with combined experience in aquaculture, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, fish habitat and aquatic species conservation;
  • up to five representatives from VFA with combined expertise in aquaculture, fish stocking, fish habitat and aquatic animal diseases and disease management, and aquatic ecosystem management and aquatic species conservation.

Current members of the TEP are:

Non-government TEP members

  • Lance Lloyd (The Chair) - expertise in fish habitat and aquatic species conservation
  • Tim Curmi – expertise in recreational fishing
  • Peter te Hennepe - expertise in recreational fishing
  • Geoff Ellis – expertise in commercial fisheries
  • Peter Rankin – expertise in aquaculture

Government TEP members

  • Renae Ayres (DELWP) – aquatic ecosystem management and aquatic species conservation
  • Bill Lussier (VFA) – expertise in commercial fisheries
  • Dr Tracey Bradley (VFA) – veterinarian (aquatic animal health)
  • Andrew Clarke (VFA) – expertise in aquaculture
  • John Douglas (VFA) – expertise in recreational fisheries

TEP administrative officer

  •  Brent Womersley (VFA)