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Australia : Yabbies rule changes net new opportunities.

The Victorian Coalition Government has introduced new and improved rules for the recreational catch of freshwater yabbies in Victorian waterways.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh has announced the use of open-top pyramid nets, tighter controls on the catch of small yabbies for bait and full protection for female yabbies carrying eggs.

Yabbies are highly abundant in the right conditions and catching yabbies has been a popular activity for children, recreational fishers and families across Victoria for decades, Mr Walsh said.

The Government has taken a common sense approach to regulate for the use of a new net design that is widely available in many fishing tackle shops, and which has already been legal in New South Wales for several years.

Scientific studies by the Department of Primary Industries, with assistance from the Australian Platypus Conservancy, show that the new open-top pyramid net provides comparable catch rates to other yabby nets but with a significantly lower likelihood of catching other wildlife such as platypus.

Hoop nets will continue to be permitted. Opera house nets remain prohibited in public waters but can be used in private waters such as dams.

The daily bag limit for whole yabbies has been adjusted from 30 litres to 30 litres or 200 yabbies, whichever is the lesser . The possession limit has been set at three times the daily limit.

These changes are intended to limit the number of small yabbies that can be taken and sold illegally as bait, while allowing for the vast majority of fishers who comply with the law to continue to enjoy catching and eating yabbies , Mr Walsh said.

The possession limit will allow recreational fishers, particularly campers and other visitors to regional areas, to continue to catch yabbies while staying in an area for a number of days.

Compatible limits are also being put in place to account for processed yabbies, such as tails or claws.

Keeping berried female yabbies - those carrying eggs on the underside of the tail is now prohibited across the state for the first time, which is consistent with other freshwater crayfish regulations, Mr Walsh said.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Nov 23, 2012
Words:365
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