Responsible fishing to reduce wildlife injuries

Birds, turtles, platypus and other aquatic animals can be accidentally injured by discarded fishing tackle and unattended fishing gear such as crab traps and nets.

To reduce injuries

  • always attend your lines and check your crab traps and nets regularly. Reducing set time for any fishing gear reduces the chances of harm to accidentally caught aquatic animals.
  • Use environmentally friendly crab traps and nets to reduce your bycatch or adapt your current gear (see "Crab traps - preventing turtle drownings").
  • Use crab traps and nets when fishing towards an estuary’s headwaters has a higher risk of interacting with platypus. Please be extra vigilant, check traps and nets regularly and consider moving gear further downstream.
  • Avoid bird feeding and nesting areas and keep your distance so as not to disturb them.
  • Avoid using stainless steel hooks which can take years to break down in the environment.
  • Avoid using break-away fishing floats that are non-biodegradable, or persist as marine debris, such as balloons and polystyrene blocks.
  • Collect and dispose of any discarded fishing line, other gear or rubbish.
  • Cut discarded fishing line into small pieces to avoid entanglement in case birds and other animals scavenge rubbish bins.
  • Don’t leave ANYTHING behind.

Saltwater traps and turtle drownings

Opera house traps and wildlife drownings

If you hook a bird

  • Don’t panic, stay calm.
  • Don’t cut the line.
  • Gently reel the bird in. Even pelicans can be slowly hauled ashore and contrary to popular myth, they are generally placid birds.
  • Place a towel or shirt over the bird’s head and eyes then carefully try to remove the hook or line.
  • Do not release the bird if the hook has been swallowed or is embedded too deeply to remove easily.

Rescue advice

For rescue advice or if you see injured wildlife contact:

Australian Seabird Rescue
North Coast - 02 6686 2852 or 0428 862 852
Central Coast - 0438 862 676
South Coast - 0431 282 238

WIRES on 1800 641 188 or your local wildlife rescue group for injured native animals

ORRCA to report all injured or distressed marine mammals, including injured whales, dolphins and seals – 24 Hour Hotline – 02 9415 3333.