Fishers and naturalists are dedicated to conserving stream, lake and wetland habitats. They lobby politicians and bureaucrats, write to newspapers, work in Landcare groups, take part in research projects and behave responsibly when visiting the places they enjoy.
COMPATIBILITY – Certainly for many native fish and aquatic wildlife species, the following statements are shared:
- Habitat that is good for fish is good for aquatic wildlife
- Look after the habitat and the animals will look after themselves
CONFLICT – Most conflicts relate to fishing methods and can be divided into methods that are LEGAL and ILLEGAL
HOOKS AND LINES: This was one of two dead platypuses found in the Tumut River caught on snagged hooks and tangled in fishing line. Photo - Joanne Connolly
DISCARDED LINE: Discarded heavy fishing line had caught and strangled this platypus in the Werribee River in Victoria. Photo - The Australian Platypus Conservancy
LURES, SPINNERS & BAITED HOOKS: Platypuses are occasionally caught on spinners, lures, flies or live bait. Hooks should always be removed before releasing platypuses.
ILLEGAL SET LINES: This platypus caught by an illegal set line in Chaffey Dam would have died from struggling or starvation. Photo - Matt Ryan
GILL NET MORTALITY: Gill nets (sometimes called ‘square hooks’) are lethal to all aquatic wildlife and keep ‘fishing’ even if lost or abandoned. Photo - Bev & Stan Pickering
TRAP MORTALITY: The remains of two platypuses and several turtles were found in this home-made yabby trap. Photo - Alastair Freeman
AS A RESPONSIBLE FISHER WHAT CAN I DO?
• Discourage others from using ANY illegal fishing methods
• Report all illegal activities to Fisheries, NPWS or the police
• Take your pieces of tangled line, hooks or other fishing tackle away with you
• Try to retrieve as much snagged gear as possible
• Even if it isn’t your line, hooks or rubbish along the stream or lake shore, collect it and remove it from the habitat
• Think before using stainless steel hooks – they can last forever
• Never just cut the line if you do hook a platypus* or other wildlife. They will probably die from infection or starve
* To avoid the possibility of being spurred, platypuses can be safely held by the tail, then wrapped in a sack, towel or jacket while the hook is removed
By Dr Tom Grant for Hastings PACT.
Proudly supported by the Hastings Fly Fishers Club.