This was published in the City of Boroondara’s Living for our Future e-news and is relevant to all Victorian home gardeners. We are still ok for this season but we should start thinking of alternatives for next year.
From 1 September 2021, any netting used to protect household fruit-trees, vegetable gardens, or other fruiting plants must have a mesh size, when at full stretch, of no greater than 5mm x 5mm. Netting advertised or offered for sale for household use must also be compliant with these mesh specifications.
Netting with a large mesh size is more likely to entangle birds, possums or flying foxes. Subsequent struggling to free themselves may cause deep cuts and strangulation, often leading to death. An alternative to netting is the use of fruit bags placed over individual branches. This will also reduce the risk of capturing animals while leaving excess fruit available for hungry wildlife.
These new provisions under Victoria’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019 (POCTA Regulations) relate to the sale and use of household fruit netting. They do not apply to commercial circumstances.
For more information, see Protecting Fruit Trees and Wildlife on Agriculture Victoria.