Do the right thing
DUMPING aquarium fish and plants in NSW waterways can cause enormous damage to both the environment and native fish and plant species.
In a bid to educate fish owners, the NSW Department of Primary Industries has produced a brochure outlining the do's and don'ts of owning an aquarium and how to safely discard of plants and fish.
Group manager Fisheries Eco Systems, Bill Talbot, said most people try to do the right thing but don't realise the potential damage.
"Keeping fish is fun, but it's important to make sure living things in your aquarium or pond are kept away from our oceans and waterways," Mr Talbot said.
In recent years an increasing number of aquarium fish species have established feral populations in NSW waters.
"Aquarium fish are often hardy and if released can have major impacts on native species and the environment," Mr Talbot said.
"Some are aggressive predators that eat native fish, others consume all of the food resources. Aquarium fish of- ten carry diseases or parasites which can wipe out native fish."
And it isn't only fish that cause problems.
"Some of the state's worst aquatic weeds, including Caulerpa, Salvinia and Cabomba are introduced and have come from aquariums," he said.
Penalties up to $11,000 apply for releasing fish in the wild without a specific permit.
The brochures will be available at pet and aquarium shops. Visit www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au for more info.