During fishing, most fishermen end up with accidental bycatch of sharks, rays, sea turtles, unwanted finfish, and other marine wildlife. But researchers have discovered that making use of lighted nets dramatically reduces unintentional catches by about 63 percent.
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How Lighted Nets Reduce Bycatch
Database analysis has shown that lighted nets reduce bycatch by 63 percent, which included a 95 percent reduction in sharks, skates, and rays, an 81 percent reduction in Humboldt squid, and a 48 percent reduction in unwanted finfish while maintaining catch rates and market value of target fish, according to Phys.org.
Gillnet fishing techniques make use of vertical panel netting, this netting during fishing causes constriction of gills and breathing obstruction to fishes, once a fish gets caught, they are usually found dead or severely injured.
This method is mostly used across the coastal regions throughout the world’s oceans but this fishing method has a disadvantage of catching unwanted sea animals, this may include endangered species like sharks, sea turtles, marine mammals, seabirds, and some other non-marketable sea animals, leading to the death and reduction in the population of these species.
During the past decade, the lighted net has proven to be really effective, though their disadvantage towards other fragile species is still yet to be examined and specified.
Also Read: Another Humpback Whale ‘Unlikely to Survive’ After Getting Entangled in Fishing Net
Potential Benefits of Illuminated Nets
Jesse Senko of Arizona State University and lead author of the study reveal that “these results demonstrate that the potential benefits of illuminated nets extend well beyond sea turtles while demonstrating the strong promise for net illumination to mitigate discarded bycatch in similar coastal gillnet fisheries throughout the world’s oceans.”
The cost-effectiveness of this method was tested and confirmed in the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico where the green LED lights were attached every 10 meters and there was a simultaneous decrease in sharks and other marine species by catching.
Net disentangling and retrieving of fish is considered really dangerous, difficult, and time-consuming especially when there are by catchers like sharks, skates, rays, squid, and small finfish.
Illuminated nest, therefore, has an increased advantage for fishermen as it reduces the time interval for retrieving and detangling of the net by 57 percent making technology attractive and less stressful for fishermen, technically it is less time consuming and can guarantee a good catch.
(Photo : Getty Images)
Efforts to Reduce the Bycatch of Megafauna
“Gillnets are ubiquitous because they are inexpensive and catch everything that passes them. This work is exciting because it provides a practical solution to increasing gillnets’ selectivity and avoiding their bycatch.
Emerging technologies should help us incorporate this kind of lighting into gillnet materials so that adopting this solution will become a no-brainer for fishers.” Hoyt Peckham, a co-author on the study and Director of Small-scale Fisheries at the Wildlife Conservation Society stated.
The WCS has been working hard to further reduce the bycatching of marine creatures like the sharks, dolphins, and some other rare and endangered species whose lives are threatened by gillnet fishing.
Although this method is a little encouraging, researchers are still working hard to provide a possible means of safeguarding threatened megafauna in their habitat around the world.
Related Article: Sperm Whale Trapped in Fishing Net: A Struggle for Rescuers
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