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‘Don’t dump that fish’ campaign launched – WA

A campaign, supported by the aquarium industry and retail pet stores, is underway to raise awareness among pet owners, on how to safely and responsibly dispose of unwanted pet fish.


Launched today, by Western Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Lyn Beazley, the education campaign is part of the Department of Fisheries’ wide range of initiatives aimed at improving the State’s aquatic biosecurity defences.


Biosecurity Team Leader Victoria Aitken said the initiative, supported by the Department of Agriculture and Food and the Perth Cichlid Society, was aimed at advising people not to release unwanted fish, snails and plants from their aquaria into waterways, toilets, drains or the ocean.


“To help spread the word, we have produced ‘don’t dump that fish’ posters, brochures and fish bag stickers for aquarium shops around the State, in order to get the retailers help in educating pet owners,” Ms Aitken said.


“The wider community is a huge resource in the fight to prevent aquatic pests entering and establishing in WA and industry-supported programs, such as these, are a powerful way of engaging many people on aquatic biosecurity issues.”


Ms Aitken said, with millions of fish being transported around the globe, importation of aquarium fish was a major potential source of invasive species.


“Given the difficulties in eradicating species once they are established, our focus is on prevention by ensuring key stakeholders, such as the ornamental fish industry, have access to relevant information,” she said.


“If fish owners no longer want their fish, they are encouraged to give them to other responsible fish owners or an organisation with an aquarium, or to seek advice from their local pet shop.”


“If you are unable to find a new home for your fish, or if the fish are sick or diseased, please dispose of them responsibly and humanely, so your pet doesn’t become a pest.”


Advice on how to dispose of them is included in the new brochure, which can also be found on the Department of Fisheries’ website at www.fish.wa.gov.au/biosecurity.


Sightings of suspected aquatic pests should be reported to the department’s FISHWATCH service on 1800 815 507, or via email to biosecurity@fish.wa.gov.au, or through the free WA PestWatch app, which can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play Store.