Feral fish control in Western Australia

Researchers with the Centre are actively involved with State government agencies, including the Department of Fisheries and the Swan River Trust, local government and catchment groups in the control of introduced fishes in Western Australia.

Some recent examples include the control of Koi Carp (Cyprinus carpio) from Sanctuary Waters Estate, Emu Lakes (City of Swan), Studmaster Park (City of Wanneroo) and Woolupine Brook. Many of these waters also contain Goldfish (Carassius auratus). Our staff have also been involved in the control of Pearl Cichlids (Geophagus brasiliensis) with the Swan River Trust, as well as the eastern Australian Freshwater Catfish (Tandanus tandanus) in Lake Nimbin (Shire of Kalamunda). Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii) were also found in Sanctuary waters. Recently we removed Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) from the caves at Exmouth.

Feral fish can have devastating impacts on native aquatic animals and their habitats, and unfortunately, the Pearl Cichlid has now spread into the Canning River system. A number of introduced parasites and diseases have recently been found in Western Australia as a result of introduced fishes.

You can report feral fish by phoning FishWatch on:
1800 815 507


Further reading:

Beatty, S.J. & Morgan, D.L. (2013). Introduced freshwater fishes in a global endemic hotspot and implications of habitat and climatic change. BioInvasions Records 2: 1-9.

Beatty, S.J., Morgan, D.L. & Gill, H.S. (2005). Role of life history strategy in the colonisation of Western Australian aquatic systems by the introduced crayfish Cherax destructor Clark, 1936.  Hydrobiologia 549: 219-237.

Beatty, S.J., Morgan, D.L., Keleher, J., Allen, M.G. & Sarre, G.A. (2013). The tropical South American cichlid, Geophagus brasiliensis in Mediterranean climatic south-western Australia. Aquatic Invasions 8(1): 21-36.

Maddern, M.G., Morgan, D.L. & Gill, H.S. (2007). Distribution, diet and potential impacts of the introduced Mozambique mouthbrooder Oreochromis mossambicus Peters (Pisces: Cichlidae) in Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 90: 203-214.

Morgan, D.L., Allen, M.G., Beatty, S.J., Ebner, B.C. & Keleher, J.J. (2014). A field guide to the freshwater fishes of Western Australia’s Pilbara Province. Freshwater Fish Group, Murdoch University,Murdoch, W.A.

Morgan, D.L., Gill, H.S., Maddern, M.G. & Beatty, S.J. (2004). Distribution and impacts of introduced freshwater fishes in Western Australia. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38: 511-523.

Morgan, D.L., Hambleton, S.J., Gill, H.S. & Beatty, S.J.  (2002). Distribution, biology and likely impacts of the introduced redfin perch (Perca fluviatilis) (Percidae) in Western Australia.  Marine & Freshwater Research 53: 1211-1221.

Movement patterns of introduced Goldfish

Goldfish (Carassius auratus) have been widely introduced across the globe and feral populations are known to have considerable ecological impacts within the receiving environments. Despite centuries of domestication and its current widespread distribution, there is a dearth of information on the spatial and temporal movement patterns of this species, which limits the understanding of the impacts of introduced populations and hampers the development of effective control measures. The current study examined the movement patterns of an introduced population of C. auratus in a regulated south-western Australian river (Vasse River) using passive acoustic telemetry.

The species had a high residency index within the array, although they were highly mobile, with the mean minimum distance travelled within the array for individuals over the study period equalling 81.5 linear river kilometres> This is the total sum of the distances that a fish moved between the acoustic receivers. One fish moved 231.3 km (including 5.4 km in a 24 hour period) during the study. Importantly, C. auratus displayed notable seasonal movement patterns including a clear shift to certain habitats during its breeding period, with most individuals being detected in an off-channel wetland during that time. The results of this study have considerable implications for developing control programs for the species, such as targeting connections to off-channel lentic systems during the breeding period. The project was supported by the Vasse Wonnerup Pest Fish Steering Committee and funded by the Australian Federal Government’s Caring for our Country program and Geocatch.


Further reading:

Morgan, D.L. & Beatty, S.J. (2007). Feral Goldfish (Carassius auratus) in Western Australia: a case study from the Vasse River.  Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 90(3): 151-156.






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