Introduction

You must have approval to possess some live freshwater species. Get information on the authorisations required.

You must have approval to possess some live freshwater species. Information on the authorisations required for various species is provided below. 

If you plan to farm fish (eg hold to breed and sell) see freshwater fish farming.  

Who to go to for approval to hold a freshwater species

Department of Conservation

Seek approval from DOC to possess the following freshwater species:

  • koi carp (as an unwanted organism you may also require approval from the Ministry for Primary Industries)
  • rudd (outside the Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game region)
  • grass and silver carp
  • any noxious species. 

Ministry for Primary Industries

Seek approval from MPI to possess the following freshwater species:

  • catfish (the possession of live catfish is prohibited and they must be killed on capture unless you have approval from MPI)
  • pest plants (may require approval as unwanted organisms under the Biosecurity Act).

Fish & Game 

Seek approval from Fish & Game to possess the following freshwater species:

  • gambusia (as an unwanted organism you may also require approval from the Ministry for Primary Industries
  • rudd (within the Auckland/Waikato region)
  • trout, salmon (including brook char, mackinaw) tench and perch. 

No approvals required 

No approvals are required for the possession of:

  • all native freshwater plant or animal species if obtained legally
  • orfe, goldfish and aquarium species.  

How do I apply? 

To apply for the possession of:

Penalties

You will be penalised if you are caught doing any of the following.

  • Transfering or releasing any live aquatic life to freshwater without approval carries a $5000 fine. This includes restricted fish  – grass carp or silver carp.
  • Possessing, rearing, raising, hatching or consigning noxious fish without approval carries a $5000 fine.
  • Releasing, spreading, selling or breeding unwanted organisms can result in imprisonment for up to five years and/or carries a fine of up to $100,000.
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