On 24 May 2019, Ms Angela Hall, after a three day trial in the Magistrates Court, was found guilty of performing acts of veterinary surgery on 11 occasions.”

What are acts of veterinary science?

An ‘act of veterinary science’ means services which form part of the practice of veterinary surgery and medicine, and includes:

  • the diagnostic confirmation of, treatment of, and provision of management advice for infectious disease, physiological dysfunction, psychological dysfunction and injury in animals;
  • performing invasive or surgical procedures on animals;
  • administering anaesthetics to animals;
  • the exercise of prescribing rights for veterinary chemicals, medicines or poisons which may be restricted by scheduling or registered label; and
  • the provision of veterinary certificates.

A formal degree in veterinary science, registrable within Australia, is the minimum acceptable knowledge base and skill set necessary to perform acts of veterinary science competently (source:

So anyone who is not a registered veterinarian, are not allowed to make diagnoses, perform surgery, anaesthetise fish or treat them.

Those who do, are unlawfully doing so. In some states, the first offence attracts a fine of $10,000; and subsequent offences carry fines of $20,000.

Read more about the titled article here –



  1. Does Australia consider actions with fish and invertebrates as requiring a Veterinary degree? People in The United Sates who study Fisheries Biology (like me almost 50 years ago) taking fish disease courses and attending clinics and on the job training under a fish disease specialist, probably have more hours of actual course work and hands on fish treatment than Veterinarians. Who as vet students might squeeze in a course fish health between classes in how to neuter cats or check for pregnancy in cows and mammalian general biology. Fish drug laws are much stricter now than then, but do I need to be a Vet to open a sturgeon to assess egg ripeness or take blood samples for hematocrit test? If a fish farmer can’t legally or skill wise diagnose his own fish where will he get the help he needs? Should he even be in the business? Do you call an Agency “professional” who may not have a Vet degree but is designated as qualified, or fly in a fish Vet, if you can find one, from hundreds of miles away?

    Is the push for veterinary control of fish treatment a Professional Trade “power grab” enabled by State Licensing? Its the same as the competition control/worker entrance limitation by the craft guilds of past centuries and pushed by trade schools for beauticians and similar groups. Licensing of Structural Engineers to safeguard the public is reasonable but some are pushing common sense.

    Sorry to get political and dis on your fine work.


    1. Hi Paul,

      Thank you for your comments.
      Apologies for delay in responding.

      It depends if the action is considered an act of veterinary science under the relevant legislation. Some procedures such as blood sampling can be performed under special circumstances (e.g. under a relevant ethics protocol in research), but this is usually after approval by the governing body of the institution where the research is carried out. Just like biologists can select an area of interest, so too can veterinarians. Veterinarians with an interest in fish will often seek out further training and qualifications to accrue those hours you allude to, to become experts in this field. Check out the WAVMA’s certification program –

      Additionally there are veterinarians available for remote consulting, so long as a valid client-patient-veterinarian relationship has been established, to assist far away clients if needed. 

      Licensing and restricting of fish treatments is in place to prevent misuse of drugs which can lead to larger problems such as antimicrobial resistance, drug residues, environmental safety, etc. – a growing and concerning global human and animal health issue. As such, veterinary oversight is becoming increasingly necessary.

      Hope this helps address your questions.

      The Fish Vet’s team.


      1. Thank you for your considerate answer. The needs of a fish farmer to perform health checks and treatments with out paying for services he should be doing himself still of a point of discusion.


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