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). Note that the Guidelines are currently under review (with V5 expected in 2023).

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


Protocols have been developed 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

Victorian Offshore Abalone Stocking Policy

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

How to apply

Step 1: Initial Screening Application form

The Initial Screening Application (WORD - 53.6 KB) is used to assess the proposed translocation and determine whether a full risk assessment is required. Email your form to A PDF application form is also available here: Initial Screening Application (PDF - 275.2 KB)

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

The Risk Assessment Proforma (WORD - 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.

Risk assessment resources

The Victorian Biodiversity Atlas

Atlas of Living Australia

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 application form ensuring the listed conditions are able to be met. Email your form to

Note that translocation and stocking conditions are a component of general (research) permits and advice regarding permit applications may be obtained from

If you would like to stock a lake/dam/pond on private property, please visit the Fish in farm dams web page for further information and conditions.

Persons who wish to undertake a non-commercial translocation and stocking of fish that does not meet the conditions of an approved non-commercial protocol, or the conditions of a ‘fish in farm dams’ translocation and stocking are required to complete a detailed initial screening application (as above).

Failure to adhere to the conditions of the relevant protocol, for a non-commercial translocation and stocking of fish, including those of a ‘fish in farm dams’ translocation and stocking may result in a breach of the Fisheries Act 1995 and lead to prosecution.

The Fish Translocation Evaluation Panel (TEP)

Applications for translocation and stocking of fish will be assessed for completeness by the administrative officer of the Translocation Evaluation Panel (TEP).

A determination on translocation and stocking applications will be made by the VFA CEO or delegate, who may consider the advice of the TEP before making a decision on an application.

Members of the TEP are appointed by VFA CEO, to provide expert advice about the translocation of live aquatic organisms.

Membership includes:

  • up to five non-VFA persons and up to five Governmental representatives with combined experience in aquaculture, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, fish habitat and aquatic species conservation;

Current members of the TEP are:

Non-government TEP members

  • Geoff Ellis - expertise in commercial fisheries and wild catch fishing
  • Ben Cleveland - expertise in native fish fisheries
  • Terry George - expertise in trout and freshwater native fish fisheries
  • Monique Leane - expertise in fisheries policy and management (CHAIR)

Government TEP members

  • Jason Lieschke (DEECA) – expertise in aquatic ecosystem management and aquatic species conservation
  • Dr Tracey Bradley (DEECA) – expertise in aquatic animal health (veterinarian)
  • David Kramer (VFA) – expertise in aquaculture
  • Kylie Wohlt (VFA) – expertise in fisheries policy and management

TEP administrative officer

  • Kylie Hall (VFA)

Review of Governance of the Translocation Evaluation Panel (TEP) and its processes

A review of the TEP was contracted in 2019 to provide independent advice to the VFA on the governance of the TEP and its processes. Governance was taken to include the processes and structures used to direct and manage TEP operations and how it fits in with decision making by the Authority. It included the division of power, legal obligations and establishes mechanisms to achieve accountability among stakeholders and the public.

See the Review of Governance of the Translocation Evaluation Panel (TEP) and its processes.