Are Koi Legal in Australia?

Koi are ornamental fish that are popular among fish enthusiasts worldwide. They are known for their vibrant colors and patterns, as well as their docile nature.

However, many people in Australia wonder if they can keep koi as pets. In this article, we will answer the question: Are koi legal in Australia

What are Koi

Koi (Cyprinus carpio) are a type of fish that is closely related to the common carp. They originated in Japan and were selectively bred for their unique colors and patterns. Today, koi can be found in various colors including white, black, red, blue, yellow, and cream.

Why People Keep Koi

Koi are kept primarily for ornamental purposes. People enjoy their beauty and often create elaborate ponds or aquariums to showcase them. Some people also keep koi for hobbyist breeding or showing competitions.

The Legal Status of Koi in Australia

The importation of live fish into Australia is regulated by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). The DAWR has strict regulations on what types of fish can be imported into the country due to concerns about biosecurity risks.

According to the DAWR website, “all live ornamental finfish species not native to Australia are prohibited entry.” This means that koi cannot be imported into Australia legally unless they meet certain criteria.

Criteria for Importing Koi into Australia

To import koi legally into Australia, several conditions must be met:

  • The importer must have a valid permit issued by the DAWR.
  • The koi must come from a country that is approved by the DAWR.
  • The koi must undergo a quarantine period of at least 30 days in an approved facility.
  • The koi must be free from any diseases or parasites.

Can You Keep Koi as Pets in Australia

If you already have koi in Australia, you can keep them as pets legally. However, you cannot sell, trade or give them away to others who do not have a permit to keep koi.

It is important to note that keeping koi requires a significant investment of time and resources. Koi require large amounts of water and filtration systems, and their ponds need regular cleaning to maintain the water quality.


In summary, koi are not legal to import into Australia without a permit. If you already have koi in Australia, you can keep them as pets legally. However, it is important to understand the regulations surrounding the keeping of koi and the investment required to properly care for them.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins