Recreational fishers across north eastern NSW will have the chance to swap their old and unwanted opera house yabby traps for an Oar-Gee Plow lure at the upcoming AgQuip Field Day at Gunnedah, to support sustainable fishing practices.

An initiative by TierraMar, through its Ghostnets Australia program, in collaboration with OzFish Unlimited and the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), is helping the recreational fishing community participate in protecting the future of fishing and the health of the area’s local waterways.

“Fishers are part of the fabric of north eastern NSW and for many it’s more than just catching a feed – it’s a way of life,” TierraMar director Anissa Lawrence said.

“This is why we’re encouraging fishers and their families to show up for the waterways they love.

“This is a very exciting program, and the first of its kind in Australia, as the opera house traps collected at AgQuip will be recycled into useful products for fishers, with the proceeds being used to support habitat restoration.

“By bringing in your old traps you’re not just adopting more sustainable fishing practices, you’re investing in the future of fishing, and the ongoing health of our waterways. And as a thank you, we’ll give you a new Oar-Gee lure.”

The popularity of yabby fishing has put pressure on native wildlife which can unwittingly get caught inside opera house traps. These traps are now illegal in NSW. Alternative devices, such as open-top pyramid nets and hoop nets, are a more environmentally friendly design, allowing non-target species to escape if they swim in while also being effective at catching fresh yabbies.

The Oar-Gee Plow lure available for those swapping old yabby traps.

“Yabby fishing really gets going in the summer so now is the perfect time to update your gear and rather than have it go to landfill, give it another life,” OzFish director of habitat programs Cassie Price said.

“We know there are loads of rec fishers who have old opera house traps stored in their garage or shed. Rather than simply throw them out, we’re encouraging anyone with old traps to come and drop them in for recycling and get a free Aussie-made lure.

“The modern pyramid and hoop nets are fun to use, especially for the kids, as they encourage active yabby fishing rather than set and forget. And they’re friendly to other animals too.

“By using these new open-top nets you’re swapping out your outdated gear, and in the process keeping your local waterway healthy and thriving, now and for the next generation,” Ms Price said.

NSW DPI deputy director general fisheries, Sean Sloan, said the state had taken the lead by promoting responsible yabby fishing.

“This yabby trap swap initiative is a fantastic example of NSW DPI working with recreational fishers and community organisations to encourage sustainable fishing with the added benefit being great outcomes for our unique native fauna,” Mr Sloan said.

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