Kmart and Big W to stop selling Opera House nets

Opera House nets can drown platyous and other native animals (image: Stefan Kraft vis Wikimedia Commons).

CONSERVATIONISTS have praised the decision from several major retail outlets to end the sale of Opera House yabby nets, amid concerns that they pose a deadly threat to platypus populations across the country.

According to an article on the ABC website, K-Mart, Big W and Anglers Warehouse have confirmed that they have discontinued online and in-store stocks of the nets, which can drown platypus when they become trapped while hunting for yabbies.

“BIG W will stop selling opera house nets due to the risks they present to platypus,” a spokeswoman said.

“The decision was made this week, therefore we have ceased orders effective immediately but will continue to trade remaining stock for the forthcoming weeks, with full withdrawal before the end of the financial year.”

Cesar is an environmental research centre based in Melbourne that operates a monitoring and conservation program called platypusSPOT.

“These nets are put in the water to catch yabbies, they’re fully submerged — and platypus eat yabbies, so essentially they become baited traps,” said Joshua Griffiths, Senior Ecologist at Cesar in Melbourne.

“When a platypus enters them, they drown within a couple of minutes.”

Mr Griffiths said the 14 recorded platypus deaths that were caused by opera house nets last year in Victoria are likely to represent a small margin of the total number.

“We think we find out about probably less than five per cent of all deaths,” he said.

“So extrapolate that across Australia and they’re having a pretty significant impact on our iconic species.

“Platypus, turtles, water rats, water birds; these are all the kinds of things that drown in these nets.”

You can read the full story HERE.

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