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Fishers Supporting Platypus

VRFish, the peak body representing recreational fishers in Victoria has thrown its support behind the Victorian Government’s decision to phase out and ban the use of enclosed yabby traps, such as Opera House traps by 1 July 2019.

Currently, any enclosed yabby traps are already illegal fishing gear for recreational fishing, yet can be used on private waters.

“Our position has always been that opera house style nets should be completely banned due to ongoing fisheries compliance issues and significant impact on our air-breathing wildlife, including platypus,” said VRFish Chairman, Mr. Rob Loats.

The equipment is widely available for purchase in-store and online causing headaches for fisheries enforcement and unsuspecting recreational fishers who assume the fishing gear is legal as the equipment can be purchased so easily.

“There are plenty of legal and platypus safe methods to catch yabbies, including the use of pyramid and hoop nets which collapse flat on the bottom of waterways,” said Mr. Loats.

“The swap over scheme to ‘wildlife safe nets’ is a terrific initiative by the Government to support all fishers to make the change,” said Mr. Loats.

Research by the Victorian Government in 2012 demonstrated that pyramid nets caught more yabbies than opera house traps when left baited in the water for up to 1 hour.

Enclosed yabby traps are designed as ‘set and forget’ or passive fishing gear and are considered commercial fishing gear in Victoria. If the equipment is lost in our waterways, the net will continue to catch and kill animals in a process called ‘ghost fishing’.

The Victorian Government announcement follows the commitment by retailers Kmart, BigW, Anglers Warehouse and Anaconda to remove enclosed yabby traps from their shelves and online stores completely or in Australian states where the equipment is illegal to use in natural waterways.

VRFish encourages fishers and other water users to report the presence of illegal traps in our waterways to 13 FISH and to take advantage of the one for one swap over scheme when announced.

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