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The fat lady is singing for unsafe opera house nets

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June 02, 2018

THE state government announced that from July 1 next year opera house nets will be banned in all public and private waters throughout Victoria, under reforms that will benefit native animals that live in and around waterways including platypus and turtles.

Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said opera house nets will be phased out with new open top lift nets now more readily available to replace them.

“The Goulburn, Loddon and Campaspe rivers as well as lakes Eildon, Eppalock, Toolondo, and Cairn Curran and Rocklands reservoirs are perfect waterways for catching yabbies,’’ Ms Pulford said.

Up until now, many fishers purchased opera house nets to target yabbies unaware they couldn’t be used in public waters in Victoria. Open top lift nets can be used in both public and private waters and are proven to be effective yabby catchers.

As part of the changes, a one-for-one trade-in is planned, whereby fishers can trade in their old opera house nets for free ‘wildlife friendly’ open top lift nets.

Trials have indicated that wildlife friendly gear such as open top lift nets and hoop nets can actually catch more yabbies than opera house nets when fished actively, so it’ll be even easier to put yabbies on the table.

“Opera house nets have been placing our platypus population at risk and so it’s time for us to embrace different fishing gear that will catch just as many yabbies without impacting our precious wildlife,” Ms Pulford said.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority will work with stake holders on an awareness campaign around ‘wildlife friendly’ yabby gear.

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