Attaching Green LED on Fishing Nets to Save Birds and Turtles

The development of LED technology not only enhances the quality of life for humans but also improves the well-being of animals. One study shows that by attaching LED lights on fishing nets, it could significantly reduce the chance to bycatch birds and turtles.

Bycatching seabirds and turtles while fishing often leads to them being trapped to death and has therefore become an international environmental problem. A research team led by Dr. Jeffery Mangel from the University of Exeter published a research on Royal Society journal Open Science indicating that using illuminating fishing nets with green LEDs can effectively decrease the possibility of catching seabirds by 85 percent.


By conducting experiments in Peru and comparing 114 pairs of nets with and without LEDs, the research team found out that the non-illuminated nets captured 45 guanay cormorants, a native diving bird that commonly becomes entangled in nets while the nets with LED caught six. Previous research also disclosed that LED lighting helped to reduce catching sea turtles by 64 percent. More investigations are being conducted to find out if different colored lights also affect the result and if more species can be saved by using illuminated nets.

LED attachment on fishing nets provides a cheap and easy option for fishermen to reduce bycatch and the method does not influence their catching of fish.

For full paper:
Illuminating gillnets to save seabirds and the potential for multi-taxa bycatch mitigation by J.C. Mangel, J. Wang, J. Alfaro-Shigueto, S. Pingo, A. Jimenez, T. Suarez, Y. Swimmer, F. Carvalho and B. J. Godley is published in Open Science.

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