South Australians are being urged to stop using illegal opera house nets for fishing following a recent sighting of a drowned native animal in a banned net in metropolitan Adelaide waterways.

A rakali (native water rat) in a banned opera house net
A rakali (native water rat) found drowned in a banned opera house net

Opera house nets were banned from use in South Australia last July. Green Adelaide and RecFish SA are hosting a net exchange event on Saturday 11 May (Register here) on the banks of the River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari to raise awareness about the ban, help remove these dangerous nets from that system and look after our river for a proposed platypus reintroduction.

Green Adelaide Presiding Member Professor Chris Daniels said it is vital to ensure all opera house nets are removed from the system to protect air-breathing aquatic animals, such as rakali (native water rat) and turtles.

“The recent drowning of a rakali in an opera house net in SA presents an unacceptable risk to air-breathing animals,” Professor Daniels said.

“Our opera house net exchange event serves as a reminder about the ban and provides an incentive to help get these lethal nets out of our rivers by replacing them with wildlife-friendly pyramid nets.

“We know that the removal of these illegal nets will be key to enable the return of platypus to the River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari one day soon”, Professor Daniels said.

Opera house net ban, image of platypus with overlay text 'opera house round up'

RecFish SA Executive Officer Asher Dezsery said this is the second exchange event, following significant attention from the recreational fishing community last year.

“The high interest in exchanging opera house nets demonstrates that recreational fishers want to do the right thing,” Mr Dezsery said.

“This upcoming exchange event allows the banned nets to be swapped free-of-charge for a pyramid net.

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

“The old opera house nets will be collected for recycling,” Mr Dezsery said.

The opera house net exchange event will be held on Saturday 11 May from 10am until 1.30pm at Felixstow Reserve, beside the River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari to collect as many opera house nets as people would like to submit, in exchange for a maximum of 5 pyramid nets.

This event aims to fast-track removal of opera house nets to support Green Adelaide’s rewilding project to reintroduce platypus to the River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari. Learn more about this project.

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