Yabby Traps and Blue Swimmer Crab FAQs

Changes to Yabby Traps for Recreational Fishers in NSW

What are the changes?

In 2003, opera house style yabby traps were prohibited in areas where platypus are mostly found; those waters east of the Newell Highway and in some stretches of the Murray, Edward and Murrumbidgee Rivers west of the Newell Highway.

This rule change will prohibit the use of opera house yabby traps by recreational fishers in the remaining waters of NSW.

When will this change come into effect?

The change will come into effect 30 April 2021 after the summer fishing season. An advisory program will be undertaken to ensure fishers are aware of the changes.

What other fishing gear am I allowed to use to catch yabbies?

Open style pyramid lift nets can currently be used in all inland waters where hoop nets are used as well as where yabby traps were used. Pyramid lift nets are a more environmentally friendly option.

Why are we making this change?

The rule change will provide greater protection for air breathing native wildlife, such as water rats, platypus, birds and turtles, which can inadvertently get caught in traps whilst foraging for food and drown.

What will the advisory program involve?

DPI is implementing an advisory program to advise about the upcoming rule changes. This will include a giveaway program involving the distribution of pyramid lift nets to help transition anglers to these new nets.

To assist with this transition, the Department of Primary Industries are giving away 5,000 open-top nets. To obtain a free open-top yabby nets, please phone (02) 6051 7760 (Monday to Friday). You can also collect one from these locations:

  • Albury Fisheries Office, 5/620 Macauley Street, Albury, 9.00am -3.00pm
  • Tamworth Agricultural Institute, 4 Marsden Park Road, Calala Hours,  8.00am - 4.00pm
  • Trangie Agricultural Research Centre, 7878 Mitchell Highway Trangie,  8.00 am - 4.00pm
  • Narrabri- Australian Cotton Research Institute, 21888 Kamilaroi Highway, Narrabri, 8.30am - 4.30pm
  • Narrandera Fisheries Centre, John Lake Centre, 70 Buckingbong Rd, Gillenbah, 9.00am - 2.00pm

Local DPI Fisheries Officers will also distribute these nets through regular patrol duties and Fisheries Education Officers and Fishcare Volunteers via field advisory, promotional events and fishing competitions (within COVID guidelines).

Will commercial fishers be restricted from using opera house nets?

DPI Fisheries will be working with the commercial yabby sector to adopt new traps designs in waters where opera house traps are used, to ensure ongoing protection for native species.

Opera house yabbie traps being replaced by lift nets

Change to Blue Swimmer Crab recreational fishing size limit

What are the changes?

The Blue Swimmer Crab size limit (carapace length) will increase from 6 cm to 6.5 cm for recreational fishers on 30 April 2021.

When will these changes come into effect?

The change will come into effect 30 April 2021 after the summer fishing season. An advisory program will be undertaken to ensure fishers are aware of the changes.

Why are we making these changes?

The increase in size limit will improve the productivity of the stock through time and lead to an overall increase in the abundance of crabs.

It will also align with the current size limit for commercial fishers.

Will this change the Mud Crab size limit?

No, this change applies to Blue Swimmer Crabs only.