By Derek Schlennstedt
Melbourne Water is reminding the community of the dangers of using homemade enclosed yabby traps in waterways following the death of a platypus in Millgrove.
The warning comes amid the shocking discovery of a dead platypus and Rakali (water rat) found in a trap at Millgrove along the Yarra River, in the last week of September.
Another empty homemade trap, with chicken wire was found only a few kilometres away at Big Pats Creek in Warburton.
Melbourne Water General Manager of Waterways and Land, Tim Wood, said the finding was devastating and that the nets could trap a number of air breathing animals.
“We’re absolutely devastated to see that one of our most iconic animals continues to perish in these homemade nets,” he said.
“While we know yabby fishing is a popular activity and these incidents are accidental, it’s important that recreational fishers abide by the rules of using these waterways.”
Mr Wood said the homemade traps were especially dangerous to wildlife such as platypus, rakali and turtles which couldn’t escape and drown once they enter the device.
“It’s extremely disappointing to find these kinds of traps in local waterways where we know native wildlife is flourishing,” he said.
Members of the community are encouraged to contribute to the effective management and conservation of platypus through the platypusSPOT app.
Mr Wood said understanding the rate and distribution of a species was essential for effective management and conservation.
“Local knowledge is an invaluable source of information and we encourage the community to contribute their own data of platypus sightings in their areas. This information can be used to assess the status of platypuses and contribute to conservation strategies.”
Recreational fishers with opera house nets can also swap there nets for wildlife friendly open-top lift nets for free at any one of 45 tackle stores throughout Victoria.
A ban will be imposed on opera house nets in all waters, both public and private, from 1 July 2019.