Noxious fish

There are many noxious fish, also known as pest fish, included in the Biosecurity Act 2014 that are managed in accordance with obligations established by the Queensland Government. Many of these species are present in South East Queensland waterways. These species are listed in Part 6 and Schedule 2 of the Act and include:

  • alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula)
  • black pacu (Piaractus brachypomus)
  • carp (Cyprinus carpio)
  • Chinese weatherfish (Misqurnus anquillicaudatus)
  • climbing perch (Anabas testudineus)
  • gambusia (Gambusia holbrooki)
  • giant cichlid, yellow belly cichlid (Boulengerochromis microlepis)
  • marbeled lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus)
  • spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus)
  • Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus and Tilapia mariae).


Various species of noxious fish can inhabit and displace native fish. They can introduce parasites and disease, as well as altering their habitat.

Types of noxious fish

Image of an Alligator Gar fish

Alligator gar 
(Atractosteus spatula)

Image of a Black Pacu fish

Black pacu
(Piaractus brachypomus)

Image of a Carp fish

(Cyprinus carpio)

Image of a Chinese weatherfish

Chinese weatherfish
(Misqurnus anquillicaudatus)

Image of a climbing perch fish

Climbing perch
(Anabas testudineus)

Image of a Gambusia fish

(Gambusia holbrooki)

Image of a Yellow Belly Cichlid fish

Giant cichlid, yellow belly cichlid
(Boulengerochromis microlepis)

Image of a Marbeled lungfish

Marbeled lungfish
(Protopterus aethiopicus)

Image of a Spotted Gar fish

Spotted gar
(Lepisosteus oculatus)

Image of a Tilapia fish

(Oreochromis mossambicus)

Image of a Tilapia mariae fish



After a noxious species of fish is caught, it must be immediately killed and must not be returned to the water. Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, people cannot possess noxious fish, or keep, hatch, rear, sell or consign.

There is active research into biological control measures for some species such as carp and tilapia, which when implemented will help reduce some of the ecological damage caused by these species.

General Biosecurity Obligation guidelines

The following lists the general do's and don'ts if you catch a restricted noxious fish:


  • kill fish immediately and humanely
  • if out in a boat, place dead noxious fish in a dry bucket separate from your permitted catch, and dispose of them in a garbage bin or bury them immediately when reaching land
  • ensure the dead fish is either buried or placed into an appropriate Council garbage bin (away from the water) as soon as practicable
  • report any illegal activities in relation to pest fish immediately to Biosecurity Queensland by phoning 13 25 23
  • if you see non-native fish which aren’t on the list above, report it to Biosecurity Queensland through their Online Reporting Form.  


  • do not return a restricted noxious fish to the water
  • do not use the fish for bait.

For more information see Biosecurity Queensland’s Legal requirements on pest fish.

What Council is doing

A management strategy has been developed and is outlined in the Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area. Some of these strategies include:

  • educating residents and the community about the impacts of noxious fish on the natural environment and noxious fish management
  • educating residents on the risks posed to our native biodiversity when ornamental fish are released into waterways
  • supporting research into biological controls and new innovations to manage noxious fish
  • containing noxious fish and preventing the incursion into areas where they are currently not present
  • managing noxious fish by reducing the population density of established species where possible.

Report noxious fish

Council encourages the reporting of noxious fish. This information is used to determine the best locations to implement management programs.

To report a noxious fish species in water bodies in Council parks, you can

To report noxious fish elsewhere, contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

More information

Find out more information about: 

External resources: 

Last updated:

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