Fishers snag free yabby nets to protect native wildlife

Fishers are in line for free yabby nets as part of plans to transition the State to open-top nets to protect vulnerable native wildlife.

Member for the Dubbo Electorate Dugald Saunders said the NSW Government is giving away 5,000 yabby nets to recreational fishers as part of the comprehensive program to phase out the use of enclosed yabby traps in NSW from 30 April 2021.

“‘Opera house’ style yabby traps pose a risk to air breathing animals such as platypus, water rats and turtles, which can find themselves caught and unable to free themselves,” Mr Saunders said.

“The NSW Government has been transitioning to open-top nets for some time, and the new nets will now be in place following consultation with, and support from, the NSW Recreational Fishing Advisory Council.

“We want to give fishers has much time as possible to make sure they’re aware of the new rules and ensure they have the right equipment.

“By moving away from ‘opera’ style traps to open-top yabby nets, we will allow both our fishing resources and native animal populations to flourish, with the open top nets allowing mammals to exit through the top, unlike opera house traps which only have openings on the sides.”

Mr Saunders said said up to five nets, comprised of either open pyramid lift nets, hoop / lift nets or a combination of both, can be used to catch yabbies in all inland waters where it is legal to use lift nets.

“This is a great opportunity for fishers to do the right thing and get new gear in the process,” Mr Saunders said.

To assist with this transition, the NSW Department of Primary Industries is giving away 5,000 open-top nets. To collect a free open-top yabby net, please phone (02) 6051 7760.

More information about the recreational fishing rule changes are available online at, or by contacting your local NSW DPI Fisheries office.

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