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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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:
- Stocking fish in aquaria (WORD - 45.5 KB)
- Stocking fish in research facilities (WORD - 47.2 KB)
- Stocking fish in secure aquaculture system (aquaponics) (WORD - 109.5 KB)
How to apply
Complete the appropriate non-commercial protocol application form ensuring the listed conditions are able to be met. Email your form to email@example.com
Note that translocation and stocking conditions are a component of general (research) permits and advice regarding permit applications may be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
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 will be made by the Secretary of the Department of Transport (DoT), or a delegate of the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) who may consider the advice of the TEP before making a decision on the application.
Members of the TEP are appointed by the Secretary DoT, or VFA delegate, to provide expert advice about the translocation of live aquatic organisms.
- up to four non-VFA persons with combined experience in aquaculture, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, fish habitat and aquatic species conservation;
- up to five Governmental representatives with combined expertise in aquaculture, fish stocking, fish habitat and aquatic animal diseases and disease management, and aquatic ecosystem management and aquatic species conservation.
- a non-voting Chairperson
Current members of the TEP are:
Non-government TEP members
- Geoff Ellis - expertise in aquaculture
- Peter Rankin – expertise in aquaculture
Government TEP members
- Jason Lieschke (DELWP) – expertise in aquatic ecosystem management and aquatic species conservation
- Dr Tracey Bradley (DJPR) – expertise in aquatic animal health (veterinarian)
- 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.