Tilapia are deep-bodied fish with long snouts and pronounced lips, their dorsal fins are continuous and end in an extended point and their pelvic fins are long. Most native species have short pelvis fins.

Pest finfish in NSW

Finfish – including bony and cartilaginous fish – are the most diverse group of vertebrates in the world, with over 32,000 species described worldwide and nearly 5000 in Australian waterways. Many NSW marine finfish species hold commercial and recreational value, while many non-natives species pose a threat to our marine ecosystems and should be reported if found.

Japanese goby have two black stripes and white speckles on the head.


Three species – Japanese goby, tilapia and yellowfin goby – have all previously been recorded in NSW and have known established populations. The two goby species are listed as prohibited matter under the Biosecurity Act 2015, with tilapia listed as a notifiable species under Schedule 1 of the Biosecurity Regulation. All three species could have significant impact should they spread to other areas outside their current range and early detection and reporting can increase the success of any response.

Yellowfin goby have a dark bar on the upper pectoral fin base and dark spots forming rows on the dorsal fins, and can be identified by these and their yellow bellies.


Learn to recognise and be aware of these pest finfish so you can report any suspected new sighting and take action to help reduce the risks of these species spreading in NSW.

You can report suspected aquatic pests through one of the following:

For more information, contact the Aquatic Biosecurity team on (02) 4982 1232 or your local NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries office and ask to speak to a fisheries officer.

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