Moving or importing aquatic animals

Movement (translocation) of aquatic animals is regulated to protect South Australia’s valuable fisheries and aquaculture sectors and the environment. All aquaculture licence holders must be aware of their responsibilities when moving aquatic animals. Restrictions on the movement of abalone also exist for restaurants and fish processors.

Uncontrolled or illegal movements have resulted in:

  • spread of disease and parasites
  • introducing pest animals
  • environmental damage.

For information on what you can do to protect aquatic environments from disease, visit the Agriculture and Water Resources website.

How to apply to import live aquatic animals

Approval must be given before aquaculture licence holders can import live aquatic animals into South Australia.

Use the online Application for Aquaculture Stock Translocation form or PDF version (PDF 115.6 KB).

A minimum of 5 working days is required to assess any applications.

Risks from movement of non-native species

Movement of non-native species poses a high risk of disease and parasite introduction.

Examples of disease and parasite introductions include:

  • Anchor worm (Lernaea cyprinacea). The introduction of European carp (Cyprinus carpio)  not only caused major damage to the environment, but is also believed to be the source of anchor worms. Anchor worms can fatally infect native fish.
  • Epizootic haematopoietic necrosis (EHN) virus. The introduction of redfin perch (Perca fluviatilis) into Australian waterways is believed to be the source of EHN virus. Native species, including murray cod, are highly susceptible to EHN virus which may have contributed to their decline in numbers.

Movement restrictions for aquaculture licence holders

Legislative restrictions are in place to govern high risk movements of some aquaculture species. These include movements of livestock within the state as well as importing into South Australia.

Species with movement restrictions include, but are not limited to:

  • oysters
  • barramundi
  • abalone
  • salmonids
  • eel
  • exotic fish.

See the Livestock Act 1997 Section 33 Prohibition of Entry into and Movement within South Australia of Aquaculture Stock (PDF 202.8 KB) for more information about movement restrictions.

Ban on importing oysters/oyster spat from Tasmania

In February 2016, Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) was detected in Tasmania.

As a result the South Australian Government has implemented a ban on the movement of live Pacific Oysters originating from Tasmania into South Australia. Licence holders and fish processors should regularly check the PIRSA website for any updates, including any extension on the end date.

View the current livestock movement restrictions notice in relation to Pacific Oysters (page 574).

This ban applies to all live Pacific Oysters sourced from Tasmania, including oyster spat. Non-living oysters, including those that are frozen or half shelled, can be brought into South Australia.

Restrictions on importing oysters from other states

Restrictions also exist for the importation of oysters from other states (including NSW).

Aquaculture licence holders that wish to source live oysters from interstate for the purpose of aquaculture must apply to PIRSA for Ministerial approval.

Use the online Application for Aquaculture Stock Translocation form or PDF version (PDF 115.6 KB (PDF 115.6 KB).

Movement restrictions on abalone for non-aquaculture use

Legislative restrictions exist for the import of live abalone from interstate, which are kept in a captive or domestic state. These restrictions aim to protect South Australian abalone from diseases, particularly abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG).

Requirements include:

  • abalone must be sourced from an accredited abalone farm
  • abalone sourced from Victoria or Tasmania must be accompanied by a signed abalone health declaration (Statement) (PDF 45.7 KB). This should be kept for compliance purposes.
  • strict conditions for transporting, keeping and disposing of abalone include:
    • decontamination
    • disposed of unused abalone in landfill (ie. not discarded into state waters and not used as bait or berley)
  • abalone are not to be distributed as livestock for aquaculture within South Australia.

Restrictions and requirements are outlined in the Livestock (Restrictions on Entry of Abalone Livestock for Purposes Other than Aquaculture) Notice 2015 (PDF 130.6 KB).

Page Last Reviewed: 06 Apr 2020
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