The use of small mesh size gill and drum nets in the inland fishery until around 1950 probably had a considerable impact on platypus populations in most New South Wales rivers. The prohibition of nets in the capture of introduced salmonid species by the Fisheries Act, 1902 and the current fishing regulations have provided a good deal of protection to the species in most water bodies of the State. However, it is probable that the present overlap of commercial (and illegal) fishing operations with the distribution of platypuses in the lower Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers, and their affluent streams, are suppressing platypus numbers. An experiment indicated that the legal drum nets used in the industry are less of a threat to platypuses than the use of gill nets and the illegal nets used by poachers. Banning of gill nets from the industry and stringent law enforcement would largely protect platypus populations in the inland rivers. The current regulations of the eel fishery in New South Wales should minimize the impact of this fishery on the platypus.
The past and present freshwater fishery in New South Wales and the distribution and status of the Platypus Omithorhynchus anatinus
T. R. Grant; The past and present freshwater fishery in New South Wales and the distribution and status of the Platypus Omithorhynchus anatinus. Australian Zoologist 1 August 1993; 29 (1-2): 105–113. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.1993.012
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