Guidelines for Assessing Translocations

Version 4
February 2014
Fisheries Victoria Management Report Series No. 65


Guidelines for Assessing Translocations of Live Aquatic Organisms in Victoria

The translocation of a live aquatic organism at its broadest definition encompasses any human-assisted movement of that organism.

Translocations of live aquatic organisms occur for many beneficial reasons including the development of aquaculture facilities; stocking waters on Crown and private lands for sport and recreation, aquaria or preservation of species; and to facilitate scientific research.

Translocations of live aquatic organisms, however, have the potential to threaten the biodiversity and ecological integrity of Victoria’s freshwater, estuarine and marine systems. These impacts can potentially affect 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.

Recognising the need for a nationally consistent, risk-based approach to managing translocations of aquatic organisms across Australia, the National Policy for the Translocation of Live Aquatic Organisms - Issues, Principles and Guidelines for Implementation (1999) was developed. The national policy, principles and guidelines recognised that the previous ad-hoc approach to managing translocations of live aquatic organisms did not adequately manage the risk to Australia’s economic, social and environmental well-being.

In response to the national policy, the Department of Primary Industries and the Department of Sustainability and Environment finalised the Guidelines for Assessing Translocations of Live Aquatic Organisms in Victoria (the Guidelines) in 2003. In doing so, Victoria met the National requirements for translocation of live aquatic organisms though a process consistent with that adopted by other Australian jurisdictions. These Guidelines provide a structured and transparent approach to managing the risks associated with deliberate translocations in Victoria of aquatic biota to public and private waters managed under the Fisheries Act 1995. They describe a risk management and decision-making process for assessing translocation applications.

Since the release of the Guidelines in 2003, there has been significant learnings about managing the environmental risks of translocating live aquatic organisms into and within Victoria. In addition, many administrative processes outlined in the first Guidelines (2003) have been streamlined to achieve the same risk –based approach and effective management outcomes with improved timelines in the decision-making process.

Changes and amendments have been made to the guidelines in 2009 and 2014 reflecting the irrespective government departments at the time. This version takes into account the change the governmental change to Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA).