Is Koi Fish Legal in Australia?

Koi fish, with their vibrant colors and graceful movements, are a popular addition to many backyard ponds and aquariums. However, if you live in Australia, you may be wondering whether it is legal to keep these beautiful fish as pets. In this article, we will explore the laws and regulations surrounding koi fish in Australia.

What are Koi Fish?

Koi fish, also known as Nishikigoi, are a type of ornamental carp that were originally bred in Japan for their colorful patterns. These fish can grow up to 3 feet long and have a lifespan of up to 30 years.

Are Koi Fish Legal in Australia?

The short answer is yes, koi fish are legal in Australia. However, there are some important regulations that you need to be aware of before deciding to keep these fish.

Importing Koi Fish

If you want to import koi fish into Australia from overseas, you will need to obtain a permit from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. This permit is required regardless of whether the koi fish are intended for personal or commercial use.

Keeping Koi Fish

Once you have obtained your koi fish, there are certain rules that you must follow when keeping them in Australia. These rules vary depending on the state or territory where you live.

In New South Wales, for example, it is illegal to release any freshwater species into the wild without a permit. This means that if you have koi fish in your backyard pond, you must take steps to ensure that they cannot escape into nearby waterways.

Similarly, in Victoria, it is illegal to keep any non-native freshwater species without a permit. This includes koi fish as well as other ornamental carp such as goldfish and silver perch.


In summary, while it is legal to keep koi fish in Australia, there are certain regulations that you must follow. If you are importing koi fish from overseas, you will need to obtain a permit from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Additionally, if you live in New South Wales or Victoria, you will need to ensure that you are not breaking any laws related to the release or keeping of non-native freshwater species.

By following these regulations, you can enjoy the beauty and grace of koi fish while also protecting the environment and complying with Australian law.

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Michael Allen