Fauna surveys, trapping and the use of protected wildlife
Investigators involved in fauna surveys or trapping need to be aware that, as well as complying with the requirements of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (ACPA) and the Australian code for the use of animals for scientific purposes (scientific use code), there are additional requirements for feral and pest animal species, noxious fish and protected wildlife (common and endangered).
Investigators (and the animal ethics committees (AEC) making decisions on their applications) need to be aware of their legal obligations. Investigators and AECs must:
- obtain all the necessary permits and licences from the relevant agencies (see list of responsible agencies below)
- consult these agencies for advice on how to dispose of pests or noxious fish so they pose no threat to the environment, other animals or humans
- ensure the use of the animal complies with all relevant legislation.
The responsible agencies for dealing with pest and protected species are:
- freshwater exotic pest fish - Fisheries Queensland (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)
- native species, wildlife, some exotic birds - Department of Environment and Science
- declared pest animals (i.e. pest mammals, reptiles and amphibians as per regulations) - Biosecurity Queensland (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries).
See clauses 3.3.33–3.3.36 of the scientific use code for a full list of trapping requirements.
Additional legal requirements for declared pest species and noxious fish
If you're likely to be dealing with prohibited or restricted biosecurity matter, including pest species or noxious fish, during your scientific research project or activity, you must apply for a permit.
Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, biosecurity matter includes:
- living things, other than humans or parts of a human
- pathogenic agents that can cause disease in a living thing (other than a human), or a human (by transmission from an animal to the human)
Biosecurity matter is classified as either prohibited matter or restricted matter. Prohibited matter isn't found in Queensland. Restricted matter is found in Queensland.
Requirements for protected wildlife
You may need to apply for additional permits, licences or authorities from the Department of Environment and Science when using protected wildlife for scientific purposes.
Requirements for non-target animals (by-catch)
It is crucial to minimise potential disturbance to target and non-target animals (by-catch). Proposals to the AEC must include:
- a plan to manage and minimise the pain and distress of potential non-target animals as part of trapping, handling, release or euthanasia
- detailed trapping techniques for the species and how the traps will be managed to minimise the impact on both target and non-target animals, especially minimising the number of non-target species being trapped
- procedures for the humane killing of non-target animals, including animals that are restricted or prohibited biosecurity matter under the Biosecurity Act
- evidence that staff are competent, authorised and appropriately resourced to euthanase declared pests and noxious fish as required.
AECs or registrants must include the details of non-target animals in their annual animal use statistics report to Biosecurity Queensland. These details must also be included in the project's annual progress report and completion reports to the AEC.