From this Friday, recreational fishers with opera house nets can swap them for wildlife friendly open-top lift nets for free at any one of 45 tackle stores throughout Victoria.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford announced the buy-swap initiative today in Ballarat, which will help raise awareness of the impending ban on opera house nets in all waters, both public and private, from 1 July 2019.
The program makes it easy for thousands of keen yabby fishers to swap up to three opera house nets for three free wildlife friendly open-top nets.
Open-top nets are permitted in public and private waters, so the rule change next year will make it simpler for fishers who will be able to use the same nets regardless of location.
Opera house nets are associated with drowning wildlife such as platypus, turtles and native water rats, which can be avoided entirely if open-top nets are used instead.
Unlike opera house nets, open-top nets feature a 20 cm x 20 cm gap at their top, which enables air-breathing animals such as turtles to escape.
Research by the Victorian Fisheries Authority has shown open-top lift nets are very effective at catching yabbies.
The yabby net swap program is funded by the Andrews Labor Government’s Target One Million plan, which is investing a record $46 million to get more people fishing, more often.
A limited number of open-top lift nets will also be available at selected VFA regional events and handed out by Fisheries Officers on patrol in northern Victoria.
The VFA is distributing 10,000 open-top lift nets for the yabby net swap program and is encouraging people to take up the opportunity to swap their old nets before stocks run out.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“This is a win for our wildlife and a win for recreational fishers who get new yabby fishing gear for the summer season.”
“We want more Victorians fishing more often, which is why we are offering a free swap of old opera house nets for new open-top lift nets.”
“Victorian anglers respect the environment and want to do the right thing to protect our wildlife, which is why we expect the yabby net swap program to be a great success.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020