Free yabby net swap

By Country News

Recreational anglers are being encouraged to swap their opera house yabby nets for free, wildlife-friendly, open-top lift nets before a ban kicks-in mid next year.

Victorian Fisheries Authority chief executive officer Travis Dowling said there was an ‘‘incredibly positive’’ response from anglers in September to the first offer that saw 4000 nets swapped in only a few weeks.

‘‘Some tackle shops ran out of stock in days given the overwhelming support for the program and widespread willingness to embrace wildlife-friendly ways of yabby fishing,’’ Mr Dowling said.

‘‘Our second delivery of 6000 nets has now arrived with tackle shops so we’re keen for anglers who missed the first offer to return and swap over up to three opera house nets for three open-top lift nets.’’

The net swap program comes ahead of the banning of opera house nets in all public and private waters from July 1, 2019.

‘‘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,’’ Mr Dowling said.

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.

Mr Dowling said the second delivery of nets was expected to go quickly.

‘‘We have ordered another 10000 nets, given demand, which are expected to arrive in early December,’’ he said.

■To find participating tackle stores, visit: