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  1. #1

    Freshwater turtles

    A few months ago, when fishing with the family at Wivenhoe, I set out in my canoe to retrieve my opera nets, only to find a large turtle in one, instead of the expected Red claws. #Whilst pulling up the immensly heavy net I thought I had a huge feed for the tribe. #Image my surprise to find a large (20-25cm across the back) very sick turtle. #

    The turtle had either stretched the wire around the opening or bitten the wire and then stretched it as the opening had been stretched to almost four times its normal size. #I believe the turtle must have been in the net most of the night. #Its air bladder or floating mechanism had been damaged and it could not submerge. #I retrieved the turtle again and brought it into shore.

    The ranger for the area came around just after breaky. #He didn't think there was anything that could be done. #We kept the turtle at the edge of the water for a number of hours before it decided to swim off. #It appeared as though it still could not submerge and the ranger said it would probably die.

    We have caught many smaller turtles (3-7cm) in the traps but they usually just swim away when you release them.

    Is there anything that can be done in such a situation to prevent a death?

  2. #2

    Re: Freshwater turtles

    Hi Gran,
    All traps for use in freshwater should have a solid, round entrance no bigger than 10 cm wide, especially to stop tortoise deaths. I know that some of the older opera house type traps had no solid "ring" in the entrance & many of these are still in service.
    While no body likes to see a tortoise die, they are far from endangered in Wivenhoe. Find one of the Brahmany Kite nests & look at all the shells under neath them there.
    One way to reduce the threat to tortoises is to make the openning smaller.
    Another way to help them (but rather complicated) is to stitch a sleeve into all of your traps that will allow the turtles to swim up & out of the traps. Attach a float to the top of it to keep it up. Eel trappers are required to have these sleeves on thier traps/pots.
    Some other info on apparatus at

    Hope that helps,

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  3. #3

    Re: Freshwater turtles

    G'day Gran38.
    In Vic opera house nets are banned for that reason. I guess they're still legal in QLD if the ranger said nothing.

    Anyway, if you wanted to cast aside this problem forever, grab yourself a few hoop nets. They lie on the floor of the lake and you just rip them up as fast as you can. They don't work as a 'trap' so much, more like a landing net. There is no chance of drowning turltes using these.

    Cheers, NS

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