Enclosed yabby traps drown platypuses - ban their sale, use and possession in Victoria
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To prevent the indiscriminate, cruel drowning deaths of platypuses in Victoria that occur via the (often illegal) use of enclosed yabby traps.
We see this as both an animal welfare issue and a conservation issue.
i) Animal welfare/cruelty to animals
Drowning an air breathing animal is simply unacceptable and unjustifiable, no matter which way you look at it.
Recently listed as ‘near threatened’, the platypus is already under pressure via climate change, habitat destruction, and changing river flows. Trapping and drowning platypuses creates the real and significant potential to cause local extinction events - thereby isolating populations and further increasing localised extinction risks.
In Victoria (and other eastern states) platypuses are being caught and drowning horrible deaths in ‘set and forget’ enclosed yabby traps such as opera house nets (the most common type used). This has been going on for years.
Whilst currently legal to use in private waterways, most deaths have been recorded by their illegal use in public waterways. Current regulations clearly do not work and no one has been prosecuted for their illegal use. These vile traps allow the platypuses to enter but not find their way out, and so in just a few minutes, the results are inevitable and tragic.
When abandoned in a waterway, these traps also ‘ghost fish’ - meaning even after one platypus is captured and drowned, they can continue to capture and drown other platypuses over days, weeks or years. For example, in 2017 near Labertouche, 5 platypus remains were found in just two enclosed yabby traps. Using 2017 data, it is possible that on average one platypus drowns nearly every day in Victoria.
To make matters worse, many enclosed yabby traps are used during the summer months when the female platypuses are foraging for food to nourish their babies. If a mother platypus dies, her young will be left alone in the burrow to slowly starve to death.
CURRENT REGULATIONS AREN'T WORKING:
All drowning deaths recorded in Victoria over the last 10 years have been by the illegal use of these traps, so whilst extending a ban to all waterways (public and private) will be a very important and welcome first step, this will only address part of the problem. We also need to ensure that these vile nets can not be sold, purchased or owned in Victoria.
WE ARE RESPECTFULLY PETITIONING THOSE WHO CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO:
1. Ban the use of enclosed yabby traps/pots (such as opera house nets) in ALL Victorian waters
2. Ban the sale of enclosed yabby traps/pots (such as opera house nets) in Victoria
3. Ban the ownership of enclosed yabby traps/pots (such as opera house nets) in Victoria
We would also like to ask all those retailers who currently sell these death traps in store or on-line, to stop.
Importantly, this is not an attack on recreational fisherman or yabbying as safe, alternative yabby nets are available and effective. Its simply we need to remove enclosed yabby traps due to their indiscriminate drowning of non-target species like the platypus.
This petition will be submitted to the Hon. Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford; the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Lilly D’Ambriosio; and the Executive Director of the Victorian Fisheries Authority, Travis Dowling.
By signing this petition you are showing that you support our call for urgent action. We also hope that by sharing this petition, we will raise awareness of this issue, and those who currently use enclosed yabby traps, will voluntarily stop.
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