Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : January 3rd 2018 Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2018 - PAGE 7
A PLATYPUS died when it was caught in an
opera house net that had been left unattended
in the Tarra River in South Gippsland.
It was the latest platypus death, following 12
incidents elsewhere in Victoria where platy-
puses have died after drowning in illegally set
opera house nets.
The Department of Environment, Land, Wa-
ter and Planning Gippsland regional compli-
ance coordinator Peter Simpson called the
death of the platypuses “tragic”.
“Platypus are an iconic Australian species
that are declining,” he said.
“It is illegal to use opera house nets in, or
near Victorian public waters.
“These nets trap and prevent air breathing
animals like platypus, rakali (water rats), fresh-
water turtles and aquatic birds from escaping.
“This summer holidays we are encouraging Vic-
torians not to use enclosed yabby traps such as
opera house nets and only use platypus safe al-
ternatives such as the hoop or open top lift nets.”
As an incentive to report the illegal use of op-
era house nets, the People for the Ethical Treat-
ment of Animals (PETA Australia) are offering
a $5000 reward for information leading to the
identification and conviction of anyone involved
in the drowning death of a platypus with an en-
closed yabby trap.
Under the Wildlife Act 1975 there are vari-
ous penalties associated with taking or being in
possession of protected wildlife or using pro-
hibited equipment, including fines and/or 24
To report crimes against wildlife call Crime
Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
AFTER four years of no sightings, the highly
invasive and predatory Northern Pacific Seast-
ar, Asterias amurensis, has been rediscovered
by Parks Victoria divers in Tidal River, Wilsons
Promontory National Park.
Three divers were conducting a routine
search in the lower end of Tidal River last week
challenged by low visibility when they found a
single mature Seastar measuring 15cm in di-
ameter underneath the park’s popular Tidal
In 2012 the Northern Pacific Seastar was dis-
covered for the first time at Tidal River prompt-
ing significant efforts to prevent the pest from
becoming established in the Tidal River estuary
and spreading to the pristine marine environ-
ments around the Prom and further east. This
involved extensive diver surveys and hand re-
movals of seastars over the following year.
This recent finding will now spark a series of
follow-up surveys in the river over the coming
months to determine the extent of infestation
and control efforts to prevent resurgence of the
marine pest once again.
Parks Victoria Marine Pest Officer Jonathon
Stevenson has urged visitor to take their own
“We urge all visitors who enjoy being in and
on the water to wash and dry their boats and
gear thoroughly before moving to a new loca-
tion,” Mr Stevenson said.
“Now that we know the Northern Pacific Sea-
star is back in Tidal River our challenge is to
stop it spreading to other parts of the park or
further along the Victorian coastline.
“Sightings of suspected Northern Pacific Sea-
stars can be reported to marine.pests@ecodev.
vic.gov.au with the location, date and time and
photograph to assist investigations.”
The Northern Pacific Seastar can be easily
transported by currents or relocated to new ar-
eas attached to fishing and diving equipment
and the hulls of vessels, including kayaks and
What can I do to prevent the spread of marine
• Marine pests including the Northern Pacific
Seastar are easily spread from one part of the
coast to another by people.
• Boats, kayaks and canoes, wetsuits, fishing
gear, and other equipment that remain wet can
spread fertilised eggs, larvae, or small animals
or plants, to new locations.
• All equipment used in marine areas should
be washed in freshwater after use then thor-
oughly dried to reduce the risk of spreading
• This is particularly important for people
moving any equipment used in areas like Port
Phillip Bay to other areas such as the Prom.
For more information call 13 1963 or visit
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Saturday, February 10, 2018
The highly invasive Northern Pacific Seastar has once again been found at Wilsons Prom.
Notorious pest lurking at the Prom
Platypus dead, net to blame
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is urging the public not to use
opera house nets in public waters these summer holidays.
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