Recreational yabby fishers will be forced to put away their opera house nets and embrace gear that is safer for aquatic animals thanks to changes made by the Andrews Labor Government.
Opera house nets have been prohibited equipment in public waters for many years and will now be completely banned including in private waters such as farm dams.
Many fishers who had previously purchased opera house nets to target yabbies were unaware they could not be used in Victorian public waters, where they pose a risk to air-breathing animals including platypus, turtles and native water rats.
Open-top lift nets, hoop nets, bait traps and baited lines all remain legal yabby fishing gear. Research by the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) has shown that these wildlife friendly open-top lift nets and hoop nets can catch just as many yabbies as opera house nets.
Victorian fishers can store opera house nets in their homes or sheds for interstate use where they are permitted.
Last year the Labor Government and the VFA initiated a yabby net swap program that offered a free one-for-one swap of an opera house net for a new open-top lift net.
Since then 20,000 new open-top lift nets were swapped over to fishers with nearly 70 participating tackle shops across the state.
For more information visit vfa.vic.gov.au/yabbyfishing
Quotes attributable to Minister for Fishing and Boating Jaala Pulford
“The time has come to farewell the use of opera house nets in all Victorian waters to protect iconic Australian animals like platypus.”
“The recreational fishing community have jumped aboard the opera house net swap program and embraced a more sustainable way of catching yabbies with no risk to aquatic wildlife.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020