Possessing freshwater species
IntroductionYou 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, for example, 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 – full list of noxious fish.
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 including brown and rainbow, salmon including brook char, mackinaw, tench and perch.
Note: Fish & Game do not give approval for personal use.
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 to apply
To apply for the possession of:
- DOC approved species email the DOC Hamilton Office outlining your proposal
- MPI approved species see the MPI website
- Fish & Game approved species see Fish & Game.
You will be penalised if you are caught doing any of the following.
- Transferring 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.