A platypus has been killed in an illegal crayfish trap in Canberra’s south, prompting rangers to step up patrols for unlawful fishing activities in the ACT’s parks.
The platypus drowned beside three Murray River crayfish, a protected species, trapped in a crayfish trap near Kambah Pool.
Territory and Municipal Services were contacted by a fisherman, who spotted the creatures in the trap earlier in the week.
TAMS acting regional manager Brett McNamara said enclosed yabby and crayfish nets and traps have been illegal in ACT public waters for more than 10 years, and are also illegal in NSW, because they can kill any number of other creatures.
“This sort of incident is incredibly disappointing given the platypus is such an iconic species and the Murray River Crayfish is threatened. While the conservation status of platypus is stable, this month the Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch is running a platypus count to ascertain a clearer picture of overall numbers in our local waterways,” Mr McNamara said.
He said the ACT would be stepping up patrols along the Murrumbidgee River corridor looking for illegal fishing, which also includes the use of set lines, unattended rods, and enforcing bag limits.
“Last year we issued $1150 worth of on the spot fines to an illegal fisher who had 10 set lines at Kambah Pool reserve,” Mr McNamara said.
“There are no excuses for poor fishing behaviour. A number of signs are in good view of the public at popular fishing spots along the Murrumbidgee. These signs display pictures and descriptions of the protected endangered fish so that anglers can readily identify their catch. They also provide information on regulations and restrictions.”
Members of the public can report illegal fishing activities via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.