Trade of syngnathids and solenostomids (Seahorses, Sea dragons, Pipehorses and Pipefish)
Sustainable Fisheries Section
Listed marine species
In late 2001 syngnathids and solenostomids were included in the list of marine species under Part 13 of the EPBC Act. As a result of this listing, it is an offence to kill, injure, take or trade syngnathids and solenostomids in, or from, a Commonwealth area. The Act specifies that certain actions are not offences, including actions undertaken in accordance with an accredited management regime or in accordance with a permit under which the action is approved. Accidental capture may also provide a defence against prosecution.
Reporting listed species interactions
If an interaction with a listed species does occur, and it does not constitute an offence under the Act and it was not authorised by a permit, then the EPBC Act requires that the interaction be reported. For more information on interactions, refer to the fact sheet "Interactions with Protected Species" or consult the Sustainable Fisheries Section.
To accredit a management regime in areas under Commonwealth jurisdiction, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage must be satisfied that:
- the regime requires persons engaged in fishing to take all reasonable steps to ensure that listed marine species are not killed or injured; and
- the fishery is not likely to adversely affect the conservation status of listed marine species.
Part 13A of the EPBC Act controls international trade in all native wildlife, including syngnathids and solenostomids, sourced from State and Commonwealth waters.
Products from fisheries are either exempt from export controls (ie they are on the List of Exempt Native Specimens) or require an export permit or, for a limited number, may not be exported. The following website contains a list of the species currently exempt from export controls, http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/lists/exempt/index.html. Where it is proposed to commercially export native species not on the list of exempt native species, an export permit is required. An export approval may only be granted for specific circumstances, including personal goods, scientific exchange and other non-commercial purposes, and a series of defined commercial purposes.
A variety of syngnathid and solenostomid species are currently being exported from several states under different management arrangements. A list of approved operations can be found at http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/sources/operations/index.html.
Export permits will only be granted where syngnathid and solenostomid species:
- have been obtained from an approved aquaculture operation;
- are a product of an approved captive breeding program; or
- have been taken from the wild under an approved harvesting regime under the EPBC Act.
*The Minister may also issue a permit, without approval under one of the above programs, if exceptional circumstances exist that justify the proposed export, and the export would not adversely affect biodiversity and is consistent with the objects of the Act.