Lights on fishing nets save turtles and dolphins

phys.org | 7/10/2018 | Staff
MireilleMireille (Posted by) Level 3
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Placing lights on fishing nets reduces the chances of sea turtles and dolphins being caught by accident, new research shows.

LED lights along the top of floating gillnets cut accidental "bycatch" of sea turtles by more than 70 percent, and that of small cetaceans (including dolphins and porpoises) by more than 66 percent.

Study - University - Exeter - Conservation - Organisation

The study, by the University of Exeter and Peruvian conservation organisation ProDelphinus, looked at small-scale vessels departing from three Peruvian ports between 2015 and 2018, and found the lights didn't reduce the amount of fish caught from "target species" (ie what the fishers wanted to catch).

The findings support previous research which suggested LED lights reduce bycatch of seabirds in gillnets by about 85 percent.

Gillnets - Ocean - Currents - Gills - Component

Gillnets, which can be either anchored or move with the ocean currents, are designed to entangle or snare fish by the gills, and are the largest component of small-scale fisheries in many countries.

"Gillnet fisheries often have high bycatch rates of threatened marine species such as sea turtles, whales, dolphins and seabirds," said lead author Alessandra Bielli, who carried out analyses as part of her masters research at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

Declines - Populations - Species—yet - Solutions - Gillnet

"This could lead to declines in the populations of these non-target species—yet few solutions to reduce gillnet bycatch have been developed.

"Sensory cues—in this case LED lights—are one way we might alert such species to the presence of fishing gear in the water."

Researchers - Lights

The researchers placed lights every 10m along the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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