Frequently asked questions

What is happening on 1 July 2019 in relation to yabby fishing equipment?

The use of opera house nets will be banned in all Victorian waters (public and private). This will allow yabby fishing to be conducted using wildlife friendly equipment like open to lift nets and hoop nets without impacting air-breathing animals like platypus, turtles and rakali (native water rats).

Can I still own and possess opera house nets and have them in the shed?

Yes as opera house nets can still legally be used in some other states, some fishers may reasonably be in possession of them in Victoria and use them when travelling and fishing interstate waters. However, as other states also move to ban the use of opera house nets, we expect the need for recreational fishers to possess opera house nets will be reduced.

Can fishing tackle stores still sell opera house nets?

Yes as opera house nets can still legally be used in some other states, fishing tackle stores can still sell opera house nets.

We signalled the ban on the use of opera house nets in early 2018 to give fishing tackle retailers plenty of time to cease their wholesale purchase of opera house nets.

While a very small number of stores may still be selling residual stock of remaining opera house nets for use interstate, it is encouraging to see most stores have transitioned to selling wildlife friendly equipment like open top lift nets and hoop nets.

As other states also move to ban the use of opera house nets, we expect the market for opera house nets to dry up completely.

Are other states also planning to ban the use of opera house yabby nets?

We understand that the ACT Government is phasing out the use of opera house nets and New South Wales is considering the policy.

Can Fisheries Officers stop me using opera house nets on my private property?

Yes, under powers within the Fisheries Act 1995, Fisheries Officers can enter private property if they reasonably believe a fisheries offence has occurred.

What is the penalty for using an opera house net?

The penalty for using an opera house net in 2019/2020 is $815, or five penalty units.

Can I still swap my opera house nets for open top lift nets?

No, the Yabby Net Swap Program has now been completed and was successful in raising awareness for the upcoming ban on the use of opera house nets and to transition recreational fishers and tackle stores to wildlife friendly yabby fishing gear.

Between December 2018 to February 2019 we distributed 20,000 wildlife friendly open top lift nets to recreational fishers via 67 tackle stores all across the state.

Encouragingly, most tackle stores and distributors have now discontinued their sale of opera house nets and have made wildlife friendly nets available to recreational fisher for purchase.

What fishing equipment can I currently use to catch yabbies for recreational purposes in public waters?

Under current fisheries regulations, Victorian recreational fishers can use the following equipment to catch yabbies:

a) Not more than 10 baited lines (no hooks)

b) Not more than 2 bait traps (labelled) – see below

Bait trap

c) Not more than 5 hoop nets in specified waters (see page 60 of the Recreational Fishing Guide) – see below

Hoop net

d) A combination of 10 nets (labelled) that are hoop nets or open top lift nets in specified waters (see page 60 of the Recreational Fishing Guide)  – see below

Open top lift net