Platypus found dead, illegally killed in a yabbie trap in Broken River. Picture: Oskar Krobath
Platypus found dead, illegally killed in a yabbie trap in Broken River. Picture: Oskar Krobath

Call for yabby trap ban after ‘heartbreaking’ death

Mirani MP Stephen Andrew is calling to ban the use of funnel or 'opera house' style yabby traps in Queensland fresh waters, after a platypus was found trapped and drowned in one earlier this week.

Reports indicate visitors to the popular Broken River campground at the weekend were trying to spot a platypus but were distressed to find one dead in a yabby trap.

Mr Andrew said he had previously campaigned against the traps and even sponsored a petition on the issue back in early 2019, after several platypus were found dead in the traps around Broken River in his electorate.

"I ran the petition back then, hoping to avoid any more heartbreaking deaths of this iconic animal, but the (state) government wasn't interested," the Mirani MP said.

"The (Fisheries Minister Mark Furner) basically said that the Palaszczuk Government had already addressed the problem back in 2015, and that the government saw no need to revisit the issue."

Mr Furner said there had been no confirmed platypus deaths in compliant traps since the government took action in 2015 to reduce the impact of freshwater fishing traps on wildlife.

"The trap involved in this incident did not comply with Queensland fisheries laws," he said.

"Three illegal fishing traps were seized in the wake of this incident."

But Mr Andrew said the design requirements the state government introduced back in 2015, had "failed dismally" to protect native animals like platypus from being caught in the traps and drowning within two to three minutes.

Mirani MP Stephen Andrew. Picture: Melanie Whiting
Mirani MP Stephen Andrew. Picture: Melanie Whiting

Mr Andrew said there were many alternatives to the opera house trap for catching yabbies, which were safer for native wildlife, including folding and fixed wall lift nets.

"Platypus are declining and we need to do everything we can to protect them before it's too late," he said.

"The minister needs to ban the use of opera house traps, especially in specific freshwater areas like Broken River in Eungella, where platypus live and breed."

The Daily Mercury understands the fishing traps that were seized did not comply with fisheries regulations and were not marked to enable the trap's owners to be identified.

Anyone with information about illegal fishing apparatus should phone the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.

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