The fat lady is singing for un­safe opera house nets

McIvor Times - - NEWS -

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-forone 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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