VICTORIA is leading the way in the banning of opera house yabby nets in a bid to stamp out wildlife deaths.
After a two-decade Victorian Recreation Fisheries-run campaign to see the banning, a buyback scheme has been implemented where old-style net owners can swap them for the new, open top netting.
Wimmera residents can trade up to three old nets for the free, “wildlife friendly” open top lift nets at Webbcon Marine and Wimmera Outdoors, both in Horsham.
Opera house netting is commonly used for private purposes, but sometimes end up in public waterways. They will be made illegal from July 1 next year.
Open-top nets feature a 20cm by 20cm gap at their top, which enables air-breathing animals to escape.
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the state government would fund the buyback scheme.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority is distributing 10,000 open-top nets and 45 fishing stores across the state are so far signed up to the program.
Officials said people wanting more details could go to vfa.vic.gov.au/yabbynetswap.