Friday, August 9, 2013

Call to report illegal ACT fishing

Apart from being illegal in the ACT I thought everyone knew about the perils of using 'opera house' style traps for yabbies and crayfish. The photos on this page are of one I bought several years ago for a ridiculously low price from a Tuggeranong camping store. It was bought on the spur of the moment for use in a small private farm dam but has never been used...
As the tag says 'SureCatch". It is specifically designed to be easy to enter but difficult to leave. To an air breathing aquatic platypus this means sure suffocation after it enters in search of the bait or crustaceans...
Sadly this has been the case in Canberra waterways recently...
Released 09/08/2013 - Territory and Municipal Services
ACT Parks and Conservation today called for Canberrans to report any sightings of yabby nets or traps in ACT rivers and streams, after a platypus and three Murray River Crayfish were found drowned in an illegal crayfish trap near Kambah Pool. 
"A keen fisherman contacted us this week to report that he had found a set trap with a dead platypus near Kambah Pool," said Brett McNamara, Acting Regional Manager, National Parks and Catchments. 
"The trap also contained three threatened and protected Murray River Crayfish estimated at being between 10 and 40 years old. 
"This sort of incident is incredibly disappointing given the platypus is such an iconic species and the Murray River Crayfish is threatened. While the conservation status of platypus is stable, this month the Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch is running a platypus count to ascertain a clearer picture of overall numbers in our local waterways. 
"All enclosed nets and traps have been illegal in public waters in the ACT for over 10 years under the ACT Fisheries Management Act 2000 and are also illegal in surrounding NSW. They can kill platypus, turtles and water rats by preventing them from escaping meaning they drown. 
"Rangers will be stepping up patrols along the Murrumbidgee River Corridor looking for illegal fishing, which can also include the use of set lines, unattended rods, not keeping to size and bag limits and unauthorised vehicle access to areas. Last year we issued $1150 worth of on the spot fines to an illegal fisher who had 10 set lines at Kambah Pool reserve." 
Mr McNamara said that the Murrumbidgee River Corridor has many great fishing spots so it is very unfortunate when people choose to not obey the rules and harm our local wildlife. 
"There are no excuses for poor fishing behaviour. A number of signs are in good view of the public at popular fishing spots along the Murrumbidgee. These signs display pictures and descriptions of the protected endangered fish so that anglers can readily identify their catch. They also provide information on regulations and restrictions. 
"While ACT Government rangers will be increasing enforcement patrols in coming weeks, I encourage anyone who sees illegal fishing activities – such as set lines, unattended rods or enclosed traps – to report them to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Canberra Connect on 13 22 81." 
Mr McNamara also warned people to be on the lookout for people trying to catch the threatened Murray River Crayfish. 
People can visit to obtain a copy of the information sheet Recreational Fishing in the ACT. People can report platypus sightings to the Australian Platypus Conservancy via
- Statement ends - Tams Media Release
Both the following news articles have a photo of the dead platypus caught in the trap found...
The ABC - Rangers step up patrols after trap kills platypus, crayfish
The Canberra Times - Platypus killed in illegal fishing trap in Kambah

Why are they dangerous to platypus? The above and below photo shows the ring openings. The netting funnels down to the ring allowing entry but the ring is unsupported to maintain the tunnel on an attempt at exit. Nasty things for wildlife.

If you come across one please report it.

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