Opera house nets to be banned in Victoria from July 2019

Opera house nets will be phased out and replaced with new open top lift nets. Picture: EDDIE JIMOPERA house netswill be banned in all public and private waters throughout Victoria from July 1, 2019.

The state government announced the reform on Monday.

Opera house nets are often used to catch yabbies. At the moment they can only be used in private inland waters such as farm dams where a three-net maximum applies.

They will be phased out and replaced with new open top lift nets.

Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said the move aimed to benefit native animals such as platypus and turtles.

“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,’’ she said.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority will work with the fishing tackle sector, anglers and environmental groups on an awareness campaign around ‘wildlife-friendly’ yabby gear.

People will be able to trade in their old opera nets for free open top lift nets through a one-for-one trade as part of the changes.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority said open top lift nets could be used in both public and private waters and were proven to be effective yabby catchers.

The authority said trials had indicated that wildlife-friendly gear such as open top lift nets and hoop nets could catch more yabbies than opera house nets when fished actively.

Ms Pulford said waterways including theGoulburn, Loddon and Campaspe rivers and Lake Eppalock were perfect for catching yabbies.

“When these alternative nets are set for one hour, lifted and reset they can catch a lot of yabbies,” she said.

Ballarat Courier

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