Popular nets to be banned

By Country News

The Victorian Government will ban opera-house nets in all public and private waters throughout the state from July 1 next year.

As part of the changes, a one-for-one free trade-in is planned, allowing old opera-house nets to be traded in for wildlife-friendly ‘‘open lift’’ nets.

Victorian Agricultural Minister Jaala Pulford said many anglers bought opera-house nets to target yabbies, unaware they could not be used in the public waters of Victoria.

‘‘Open lift nets can be used in both public and private waters and are proven to be effective yabby catchers,’’ she said.

Ms Pulford said the ban and trade-in would benefit native animals living in and around waterways, including platypus and turtles.

She said the opera-house nets would be phased out with open-top lift nets becoming more readily available.

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