Pest animal and invasive species information

Pest animals or plants are generally any exotic or introduced species that have an adverse economic, environmental or social impact.

Australia is host to many invasive exotic vertebrate animal species, with many of these outlined in the Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area (PDF - 3.5Mb) and managed in accordance with the Biosecurity Act 2014, and Natural Assets Local Law 2003.

Invasive pest animals

Listed pest animals that occur in natural areas within Brisbane include:

Species that can exhibit pest-like characteristics and impact on natural areas, but that are not listed in the Biosecurity Act 2014, include:

Why they are pests

These animals are classified as pests because they:

  • threaten native wildlife (e.g. by spreading disease, competing for food and shelter or preying on them)
  • adversely affect the landscape and waterways (e.g. by damaging or destroying native vegetation, causing or increasing the rate of erosion, water pollution and the spread of weeds)
  • interfere with human health and recreation
  • cost the community large sums of money (the national annual cost of managing and controlling pest animals is more than $100 million)
  • damage crops, kill domestic animals and damage fencing.

Exotic fish

The following ten species are identified within the Biosecurity Act 2014 (Act) as being restricted noxious fish:

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

The Act requires all Queenslander’s comply with their General Biosecurity Obligation. The obligation placed on recreational fishers when catching a restricted noxious fish, is that they take all reasonable and practical steps to ensure the fish and its progeny (Mozambique tilapia are mouth brooders so there may be young in their mouths) are killed humanely and disposed of as soon as practicable by burying the fish above the high water mark, or placing in a bin.

View more information about noxious fish

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.

Invasive pest plants

Pest plants may either be:

Council takes the management of pest plants seriously as they can have a detrimental environmental, social and economic impact. Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, residents are required to take reasonable and practical measures to prevent or reduce any risk associated with invasive plants. Depending on how a pest plant species is categorised, it may be illegal to keep, sell or move particular species, including its seed or any other reproductive material.

You can report pest plants online. Alternatively, contact Council on 07 3403 8888.

Council does not permit damaging protected vegetation when work is conducted to manage weeds. Under NALL, a permit is not required to manage invasive pest plants under the Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area as long as property owners are not impacting or causing damage to protected vegetation or disturbing soil in a way that could cause erosion. For more information on weeds and invasive pest plants, check the Weed Identification Tool or visit the Queensland Government website.

Aquatic weeds

Brisbane’s worst aquatic weeds are outlined in the Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government AreaIt is an offence to grow or sell these species. Penalties can apply to landholders who do not take reasonable steps to control aquatic weed infestations. Species include:

  • salvinia
  • senegal tea
  • alligator weed
  • water hyacinth
  • water lettuce
  • cabomba.

Aquatic pest facts

When released into the environment, exotic fish, aquatic weeds and animals, and even the water they lived in may:

  • spread diseases and parasites onto native aquatic plants and animals and even livestock
  • destroy native fauna by competing for food and habitat and eating native fish and other animals
  • change natural habitats by choking our waterways, reducing the numbers of native plants, fish and other animals and increase the risk of flooding.

What Council is doing

Brisbane City Council is committed to addressing pest animal and plant management. Your assistance is essential for the effective management of these aquatic pests throughout Brisbane.

Council is:

  • monitoring and managing pest animals in natural areas
  • undertaking biosecurity surveillance programs
  • supporting research and liaising with experts regarding the best methods to address pest animal management
  • raising public awareness and providing advice to Brisbane residents by updating online information about pest animals
  • implementing a comprehensive Invasive Species Management Plan
  • surveying and treating new infestation early
  • containing and maintaining established water weed infestations
  • providing information and assistance to residents on water pests through local events or through support of community groups involved in waterway rehabilitation projects
  • supporting research projects relating to aquatic pests.

What you can do

As a home owner you have a responsibility to control these pests on your land. Read Council's Invasive Species Management Plan to help you achieve this.

Learn about the local pests and how to control them and reduce their environmental, social and economic impact.

  • do not keep rabbits or red-eared slider turtles as pets.
  • keep an eye out and report any sightings of non-domestic cats, wild dogs, European foxes, red-eared slider turtles, rabbits, yellow crazy ants or deer to Council.
  • never dump unwanted pets in the bush or in waterways – they can survive and breed.
  • collect and humanely dispose of cane toads and their spawn (cane toads produce eggs in a long continuous string, native frogs produce separate loose eggs in a ‘frothy’ mass. Gently run a stick through the spawn. If you can pick up a long connected string of eggs, remove them).
  • provide a refuge for lizards and small marsupials by leaving dead and fallen timber, hollow logs and piles of stones around your property.
  • if you own a large property when fencing off areas of native vegetation ensure that native wildlife can move around and through safely.
  • do not feed pest animals – cover and/or secure all potential food sources including chicken coops, compost heaps, rubbish bins and pet food.
  • use only native fish in outdoor ponds (e.g. crimson spotted rainbow fish, pacific blue eye, firetail gudgeon, eel-tailed catfish). They are great for reducing mosquitos.
  • use only native plants in aquariums and outdoors ponds (e.g. hornwort, thin vale, water sprite).
  • aquarium plants and dead fish should be buried or put in the rubbish.
  • release aquarium and pond water onto the garden never into the toilet, stormwater drain or waterway.
  • learn how to identify aquatic weeds that inhabit your area and get to know when and how to treat them. The earlier you detect and tackle the problem the higher the likelihood of successfully eradicating them.
  • if you find aquatic weeds or exotic fish in a creek or dam, seek expert advice on control options immediately.

More information

Find out how to report sightings of pest animals or more information by contacting Council.

Last updated:12 May 2020