Enclosed yabby traps drown platypus - ban their sale, possession and use in Queensland.

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OBJECTIVE
To prevent the indiscriminate, cruel drowning deaths of air-breathing animals such as platypuses, rakali and freshwater turtles in Queensland via the use of enclosed yabby traps such as opera house nets. 

ETHICAL BASIS: 
We see this as both an animal welfare issue and a conservation issue.
i) Animal welfare/cruelty to animals
Drowning air-breathing animal is simply unacceptable and unjustifiable, no matter which way you look at it.
ii) Conservation of wildlife
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.
 
BACKGROUND:
In Queensland (and other eastern states) air-breathing animals such as platypuses, rakali and freshwater turtles 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.
Current regulations clearly do not work. These vile traps allow the animals 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 animal is captured and drowned, they can continue to capture and drown others over days, weeks or years. To make matters worse, many enclosed yabby traps are used during the summer months when specifically, 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.

The 2015 regulations ban the use of enclosed yabby traps in public waters east of the Great Dividing Range and the Gore Highway, except in certain impounds. However, there is still confusion around these current regulations. These traps are being used illegally in public waterways and still causing deaths. Thus, indicating that many people are either unaware of the law or intent on ignoring it. We believe current regulations, although a step in the right direction, are not sufficient to prevent avoidable deaths, and a nationwide ban on the sale of these nets is needed. Wildlife friendly nets such as open topped or hoop nets should be successfully promoted to recreational fishers to achieve their catch of cray fish.

PRECEDENCE:
Victoria recently announced a ban of these traps in all waters due to the animal welfare and conservation issues with platypus and other air-breathing animals. They also developed a buy back scheme for enclosed yabby nets. 

CURRENT REGULATIONS AREN'T WORKING:
We need to ensure that these vile nets cannot be sold, possessed or used in Queensland.

We are respectfully asking those who can make a difference to do so and:
1. Ban the use of enclosed yabby traps/pots (such as opera house nets) in ALL Queensland waters
2. Ban the ownership of enclosed yabby traps/pots (such as opera house nets) in Queensland
3: Ban the sale of enclosed yabby traps/pots (such as opera house nets) in Queensland

We would also like to ask all those retailers who still sell these death traps and make money from this (such as Anaconda) to stop. There are safer alternatives such as open-top nets or hoop nets.

Importantly, this is not an attack on recreational fishers or yabbying, as there are safe, alternative yabby nets available which are as effective. We simply need to remove the use of enclosed yabby traps due to their indiscriminate drowning of non-target species like the platypus.

This petition will be submitted to the Hon Mark Furner MP Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Dr Beth Woods, the Director General of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Hon Leeanne Enoch MP Minister for Environment.

YOUR SUPPORT:
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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