Urgent warning to anglers after animals 'trapped' in abandoned fishing net

The Aussie said she was able to save several fish and two sea snakes, but not all of the native animals were so lucky.

Ruby holding a snake (left) has highlighted a major problem in Aussie waterways as she cuts a snake out of a fishing net (right).
Snake catcher Ruby made a tragic discovery in an abandoned fishing net. Source: Instagram

A snake catcher is urging Aussies to “always fish responsibly” after discovering numerous native animals caught in a “huge abandoned cast net”.

Ruby, from Darwin in the Northern Territory, said she was able to save several fish species and two file snakes after cutting them free from the mesh dumped by the shoreline of Scott Creek in the Djukbinj National Park last week.

Footage of the rescue effort posted to her Instagram shows the naturalist working with others to free the sea snakes before checking on their condition and releasing them back into the water.

“It’s just full of trapped animals that are just gonna die there for no reason,” she says while cutting holes in the net. While she was able to also rescue an “Eastern Rainbow Fish, Archer Fish, Barred Grunters, Glass Fish and Spangled Perch”, sadly, not all of the wildlife could be saved.

“Unfortunately the net had been there a while and there were many dead species still caught up including another two small file snakes we were too late to rescue,” she explained in the caption. “Covered in mozzie bites and still trying to get the smell off our hands!”

Ruby said the net was “retrieved safely” but that the incident served as “a good reminder to always fish responsibly and make sure you clean up after yourself”.

Scott Creek is well known for being home to a diversity of aquatic life, according to Parks and Wildlife NT. “The early dry season, while the creek is still flowing, is the best time to visit. Watch the file snakes migrate upstream and the abundance of little fish,” it states on its website.

Promoted as a prime spot for bird watching and photography, fishing nets and traps are not permitted in the Djukbinj National Park.

All cultural items and wildlife are protected, and visitors are urged to be crocwise and take their rubbish with them when they go.

“This Park protects a major breeding area for magpie geese, herons and egrets. It is a wetland of national significance due to its ecological and cultural values,” Parks and Wildlife NT states.

“Historically this area has been a hunting ground sustaining the Limilngan-Wulna people with traditional foods.”

Before you go recreational fishing in the NT, it is recommended you research the rules regarding the specific area.

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