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Registered and unregistered chemical use in aquaculture

You are allowed to use chemicals if they are registered for use by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), providing you follow the instructions on the label. Chemicals registered for use by the APVMA have been tested and are more likely to be:

  • effective
  • safe for staff handling
  • safe for the environment
  • safe for your aquaculture product - making it fit for human consumption.

Generally, you should not use unregistered agricultural or veterinary chemicals unless you have a permit issued by the APVMA.

Use of agricultural chemical products

Using registered agricultural chemicals

When using registered agricultural chemicals you should follow the instructions on the label.

Using unregistered agricultural chemicals

Only persons authorised with a permit from the APVMA can use an unregistered agricultural chemical. Persons using a product under a permit must ensure they have access to, and have read, the details and conditions of the permit.

Use of veterinary chemical products

There are restrictions on how you can treat fish with veterinary chemical products. These controls are in place for food-producing species, such as fish, to make sure chemicals are not passed on to consumers.

It is important to consult a registered vet to make sure you use veterinary chemicals (including vaccines) appropriately. Vets can often prescribe or supply:

  • registered veterinary chemicals 'off-label'
  • unregistered veterinary chemical products
  • compounded veterinary chemical products (prepared by a vet or pharmacist).

Using registered veterinary chemicals

When using registered veterinary chemicals you should follow the instructions on the label.

You may also use registered veterinary chemicals (including vaccines) in a way which differs from the label instructions (i.e. 'off-label') when a vet has provided written instructions and you follow these instructions in full. You should never use veterinary chemical products in a way that is contrary to any restraint statements listed on the label. Restraint statements tell you when a chemical should not be used because it may be dangerous or ineffective.

You must retain copies of written treatment instructions provided to you by a vet for a period of at least 2 years.

Find out how to obtain a permit from the APVMA for chemical use in aquaculture.

Using unregistered veterinary chemicals

You must not use unregistered veterinary chemical products unless:

  • you have a permit from the APVMA
  • a vet has prescribed, provided or recommended the product and has provided written instructions for its use and you follow this instruction in full.

You must retain copies of written treatment instructions provided to you by a vet for a period of at least 2 years.

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