Opera house nets banned in Victoria

14 May 2018

Original media release available here.

The State Government today announced that from 1 July 2019, opera house nets will be banned in all public and private waters throughout Victoria, with 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 in Victoria will be phased out with new open top lift nets now more readily available to replace them.

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-for-one 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.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority will work with the fishing tackle sector, anglers and environmental groups on an awareness campaign around 'wildlife friendly' yabby gear leading up to 1 July next year.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford 

"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 – I caught my first yabby at Cairn Curran."

"Opera house nets have been placing our platypus population at risk and so its time for us to embrace different fishing gear that will catch just as many yabbies without impacting our precious wildlife." 

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