Stocking fish in farm dams

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

The translocation and stocking of fish into farm dams, for non-commercial purposes, is allowed provided the following conditions are met:

a) the fish to be stocked are obtained legally from an aquaculture facility licensed under the Fisheries Act 1995 (the Act) or facility with equivalent interstate authorisation, or in the case of the common yabby (Cherax destructor) can also be sourced in accordance with the regulations that apply to recreational fishing in Victoria; and

b) the fish to be stocked are native to Victoria or are brown trout or rainbow trout; and

c) the fish are not declared as noxious aquatic species under the Act or protected or threatened under Victorian legislation (excludes protected or threatened aquatic biota obtained legally from an aquaculture facility); and

d) the fish must not be used for sale or other commercial purposes; and

e) the annual total number of fish stocked in each dam on your property must not exceed 300; and

f) you must obtain a declaration from the supplier that there have been no notifiable diseases (Livestock Disease Control Act 1994) or unexplained disease outbreaks at the source facility in the past 24 months; and

g) the fish are transported in a secure container sufficient to prevent release of fish; and

h) all transport containers are cleaned and disinfected after use or disposed to landfill; and

i) you must stock the fish on your property; and

j) the fish must not leave the  property alive after being stocked; and

k) the dam has appropriate screens, barriers, nets or other equipment in place sufficient to prevent the escape of fish; and

l) the dam is situated outside the East Gippsland river basin; and

m) the dam is situated above any 1 in 100 year floodplain that connects to public waters; and

n) the dam is situated greater than 100m away from any public waters.

Failure to follow these conditions, when stocking fish in a farm dam for non-commercial purposes, may result in a breach of the Act and lead to prosecution.

Notes on conditions for stocking fish in farm dams

All the conditions must be complied with in order to manage the biosecurity risks associated with stocking fish to farm dams.  If the conditions are not complied with then the applicant will be in breach of Section 42(1)(ba) of the Act.  Heavy penalties and possible imprisonment apply for illegal stocking of fish.

Public waters has the same meaning as the definition for inland and marine waters under Section 5 of the Act.  Effectively any public waterway, stream, creek, lake, river, billabong, lagoon, water storage, channel, bay, inlet etc.