Are Opera House Nets Illegal In South Australia?


Opera house nets are primarily used to catch crayfish, or as some people know them, yabbies. Their gills get caught in the net as they swim through, making the job easy for fishers. The problem is that other air-breathing native animals, like platypuses and turtles, get caught in these nets, and that calls into question the legality of this fishing method.

Opera house nets are not illegal in South Australia. However, states such as Victoria, New South Wales, Australia Capital Territory, and Tasmania have banned the use of opera house nets. South Australia is looking to ban the use of opera house nets on public and private property from 31 July 2023.

In this article, I will take a deeper look at whether you are allowed to use opera house nets in SA, which states have banned opera house nets, the penalties for using them, and which recreational fishing gear to use instead. Let’s get started!

Fishing In South Australia

Are Opera House Nets Banned in South Australia?

Opera house nets have been banned in most Southern Australian states as these nets are impacting the environment and causing the death of many native animal species. These nets are left unattended for long periods, which has devastating consequences for some wildlife species.

Opera house nets are not currently banned in South Australia. These nets are popular among fishers in the area and continue to be used. However, South Australia is considering banning opera house nets and intends to start phasing them out from 31 July 2023.

South Australia is aware that opera house nets, regardless of their size, are a huge threat to platypuses, an endangered species in the area. Green Adelaide wants to re-introduce platypuses to the River Torrens/Karrawirra ParriOpens in a new tab. and is busy with a study to see if the river is suitable for them to thrive.

The use of opera house nets remains a threat in the area. Hopefully, with the re-introduction of platypusesOpens in a new tab. and the upcoming ban of opera house nets, these fantastic animals can once again thrive in South Australia.

Opera House Net

Yabby Pots, Opera House Nets, And Recreational Fishing Equipment In South Australia

Opera house nets have not yet been banned in South Australia, but there are rules you must follow when using them.

If you plan on setting your trap and leaving, you have to ensure that your trap is tagged with your name and address. However, this is not necessary if you are fishing actively.

When setting a yabby pot away from the shore in the Murray RiverOpens in a new tab., Lakes, and Coorong, you must have one 2L white buoy and your tag attached to it. In any other waters, it has to be a 4L white buoy and a tag. You cannot have more than three of these nets in the water at once.

The maximum allowed dimension of a yabby trap is 100 cm (39 in) and a funnel diameter of 7.5cm (2.9 in).  

You can only use two fishing rods when fishing at the River MurrayOpens in a new tab.. You are allowed to use the following, but not all of them:

  • three yabby pots
  • three pyramid nets
  • three drop nets with your fishing rod

If you are not using a prawn trap or hand net, you are allowed to use ten hoop nets.

It is understandable that some fishers rely on opera house nets and that banning them could impact their livelihoods, but it can be avoided. Instead of opera house nets, anglers can use open-top nets.

Open top nets are legal and work well to catch yabbies. These nets can help save the environment and catch all the yabbies you want.

Where is Queensland Located in Australia
Australian States

In Which Australian States Can You Use Opera House Nets?

With opera house nets facing an imminent ban in South Australia, you might be wondering where else in Australia you can use them. Many Australian states have made it illegal to use opera house nets, but a few still allow this fishing method.

You can use opera house nets in Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory. These states have not banned them, but there are specific regulations that you need to follow. As of 31 July 2023, you will not be allowed to use opera house nets in South Australia.

Some states have banned the use of opera house nets, while others are looking at phasing them out. 

Here is a rundown of opera nets’ legality in the various states:

  • South Australia – Opera house nets are not currently illegal in South Australia. Unless you’re reading this after 31 July 2023, you can still use them.
  • New South Wales – You cannot use opera house nets in New South Wales; they were banned on 30 April 2021. You can get fined and held liable for any damage caused if caught using them.
  • Queensland – Opera house nets are not currently banned in Queensland, although Wildlife Queensland has been trying to get them banned.
  • Tasmania – You are not allowed to use opera house nets in Tasmania as their use is banned.
  • The Australian Capital Territory – It is illegal to use opera house nets in the Australian Capital Territory; they were banned in 2020.
  • The Northern Territory – Opera house nets are not banned in the Northern Territory, although there are strict guidelines for their use.
  • Victoria – It is illegal to use opera house nets in Vitoria. They were banned from 1 July 2019.

Opera house nets were banned in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in 2020 and NSW waters on 30 April 2021. If caught using these nets in NSW, you can get fined and held liable for any damage caused.

Final Thoughts

It is not illegal to use opera house nets in South Australia, but they are planning to ban them from 31 July 2023. These nets have already been banned in Victoria, NSW, ACT, and Tasmania because of all the innocent aquatic mammals being caught and suffocating.

Banning these nets has saved the lives of many aquatic mammals, including platypuses, turtles, rakali, and water dragons.

Daniel Clarke

The website is run by myself Daniel Clarke, I’m lucky enough to have been living in Hervey Bay, for 31 years so I’m classed as a local I have seen many changes over this time. Read more about us here

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