By placing LED lights on fishing nets, they could reduce the number of dolphins and turtles being caught in their nets significantly without reducing the percentage of the target species caught. The LED’s reduced the catch rate of turtles by up to 70%, and by porpoises up to 60%, it also reduces seagulls being caught by 85%.
Gillnets can be either anchored or move with the ocean currents and are designed to entangle or snare fish by the gills. This makes up the largest component of small-scale fisheries in many countries. The researchers located lights every ten meters alongside the drift line of 864 gillnets, pairing every with an unlit internet to evaluate the results.
“The reduction in bycatch of turtles and cetaceans in illuminated nets shows how this simple, low-cost technique could help these species and allow fishers to fish more sustainably,” said Exeter Ph.D. graduate Dr. Jeffrey Mangel, of ProDelphinus. “Given the success, we have had, we hope other fisheries with bycatch problems will also try illuminating their fishing nets.” Hopefully, with more fishermen adding lights to their nets we can save the dolphins and other marine life that are getting caught.
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Information From: CornwallLive