Illuminating fishing nets with low-cost lights could reduce the terrible impact they have on seabirds and marine-dwellers by more than 85 per cent, new research has shown.
A team of international researchers, led by Dr Jeffrey Mangel from the University of Exeter, has shown the number of birds caught in gillnets can be drastically reduced by attaching green battery-powered light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
For the study, the researchers compared 114 pairs of gillnets – which are anchored in fixed positions at sea and designed to snare fish by the gills – in fishing waters off the coast of Peru.
They discovered that the nets fitted with the LEDs caught 85 per cent fewer guanay cormorants – a native diving bird that commonly becomes entangled in nets – compared with those without lights.
Coupled with previous research conducted by the same team, that showed LED lighting also reduced the number of sea turtles caught in fishing nets by 64 per cent, the researchers believe the lights offer a cheap, reliable and durable way to dramatically reduce the capture and death of birds and turtles, without reducing the intended catch of fish.
The research is published in the Royal Society journal Open Science on Wednesday, July 11 2018.
“It shows us that we may be able to find cost-effective ways to reduce bycatch of multiple taxa of protected species, and do so while still making it possible for fishers to earn a livelihood.”
Peru’s gillnet fleet comprises the largest component of the nation’s small-scale fleet and is conservatively estimated to set 100,000km of net per year in which thousands of turtles and seabirds will die as “bycatch” or unintentionally.
The innovative study, carried out in Sechura Bay in northern Peru, saw the LED lights attached at regular intervals to commercial fishing gillnets which are anchored to the bottom of the water. The nets are left in situ from late afternoon until sunlight, when the fishermen collect their haul.
The researchers used 114 pairs of nets, each typically around 500-metres in length. In each pair, one was illuminated with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) placed every ten metres along the gillnet floatline. The other net in the pair was the control and not illuminated. The control nets caught 39 cormorants, while the illuminated nets caught just six.
A previous study, using the same LED technology, showed they also reduced the number of sea turtles also caught in gillnets. Multiple populations of sea turtle species use Peruvian coastal waters as foraging grounds including green, olive ridley, hawksbill, loggerhead and leatherback.
For that study, the researchers found that the control nets caught 125 green turtles while illuminated nets caught 62. The target catch of guitarfish was unaffected by the net illumination. They are now working with larger fisheries in Peru and with different coloured lights to see if the results can be repeated and applied with more critically endangered species.
The Latest on: Bycatch
via Google News
The Latest on: Bycatch
- Leatherback turtles under siege: US chef looks at bycatch in T&Ton August 15, 2019 at 1:40 pm
The impact of fishing nets against the endangered Leatherback turtles which visit Trinidad and Tobago's shores were featured on US docu-series Blue Habits earlier this week. The programme is part of a ...
- Tracking down threatson August 14, 2019 at 7:23 am
Birds are frequently caught on baited fishing hooks or break their wings colliding with cables that drag trawl nets – known as incidental mortality or bycatch. Over the last three to four decades, ...
- Bycatch Is a Hidden Threat to Gulf of Mexico’s Fisherieson August 13, 2019 at 11:34 am
Restoring the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the great conservation achievements of recent times. Bringing that fishery back from severe decline has not been without controversy.
- Catching fish, not seabirdson August 13, 2019 at 3:50 am
The so-called ‘bycatch’ of seabirds on baited hooks and fishing nets is collateral damage that has a long been recognised as a serious problem but has taken the EU nearly twenty years to address ...
- Nature in the City: Great white sharks in local waterson August 9, 2019 at 11:13 am
Currently millions are killed every year, for sport, food or sometimes accidentally, in a fisherman’s bycatch. Their status is listed as “vulnerable.” Researchers view them as in integral part of the ...
- Sharks at increasing risk of becoming fishing bycatchon July 24, 2019 at 4:28 pm
An adult shortfin mako shark entangled in fishing rope. Photograph: Daniel Cartamil/PA The world’s shark populations are at increasing risk of becoming bycatch of international fishing fleets, which ...
- Norway concerned that new US bycatch requirements may block exportson July 12, 2019 at 5:18 am
Norway's Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and the directorate of fisheries fear that new US bycatch requirements, to be enforced starting in 2022, could block the country's seafood exports from ...
- Elasmobranch bycatch in the demersal prawn trawl fishery in the Gulf of Papua, Papua New Guineaon June 25, 2019 at 2:44 am
The elasmobranch bycatch of the Gulf of Papua Prawn Fishery is investigated in detail for the first time. Fisheries observers collected data on the elasmobranch bycatch from a total of 403 trawl sets ...
- UK releases new report on cetacean bycatchon May 24, 2019 at 2:53 am
The UK government has launched a new report on reducing the accidental capture of whales, dolphins, and porpoises (cetaceans). Accidental capture in fishing gear, known as bycatch, is one of the ...
via Bing News