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Opera house nets removed from SA waterways

Monday 09 October 2023 | 2 min read

We partnered with RecFish SA to collect around 1800 problematic opera house style yabby nets to bring the River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari one step closer to reintroducing platypus one day soon.

People stand under a marquee at an opera house net round up event with a Green Adelaide banner in the foreground
The opera house net round up event was held at Happy Valley Reservoir

The nets, which were banned from use in SA from 1 July 2023, pose a drowning risk to air-breathing aquatic animals like long-necked turtles, rakali and even platypus.

The removal of the nets was identified as a crucial step in a recent scoping study, released by Green Adelaide, investigating the possibility of reintroducing platypus to the River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari.

Green Adelaide Presiding Member Professor Chris Daniels said that removing the nets was a key milestone for this bold urban rewilding project.

“Our plan for platypus to be reintroduced relies on the removal of these opera house nets,” Professor Daniels said.

“We were thrilled to support the collection of around 1800 opera house nets from the community, and replacing these with wildlife-safe pyramid nets over the weekend.

“Platypuses have drowned in opera house nets interstate, so the recent ban in SA is key in the viability of one day seeing these iconic Australian animals back in the Torrens.”

Old opera house nets sitting in a trailer, ready to be recycled
Now banned opera house nets were collected for recycling

The opera house nets were exchanged free-of-charge at a National Gone Fishing Day “round up” event on Sunday 8 October at Happy Valley Reservoir.

RecFish SA Executive Officer Asher Deszery said that it is an incredible opportunity to support the reintroduction of endangered animals within our waterways by facilitating the round up event.

“The high interest in exchanging opera houses for pyramid nets demonstrates the recreational fishing sector’s commitment to environmental recovery within South Australia,” Mr Deszery said.

“The pyramid style nets have a large open section at the top, so they are effective at catching yabbies, but allow other wildlife to escape.”

Green Adelaide is leading this bold rewilding project to reintroduce platypus to the River Torrens and funded RecFish SA $20,000 to support this free exchange initiative to fast-track the recreational removal of opera house nets from SA. Discover more about our platypus project.

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