Fishing brings in a lot of collateral damage. One of the major side-effects of fishing nets is the death of local seabirds. The birds along with other species get caught in the fishing net and eventually die. Researchers report that lighting up the fishing nets with LED lights could lower down the number of seabirds that die from getting caught in nets by more than 85%.
Researchers from the University of Exeter 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. One net from each pair was illuminated with LEDs placed every 10 m along the gillnet floatline. The other net was the control and was not illuminated.
The control nets caught 39 guanay cormorants which is a native diving bird that mostly becomes entangled in nets when compared with 6 cormorants caught by the nets fitted with the LEDs.
According to the previous study, the same LED technology was used, which showed that LEDs on nets also reduced the number of sea turtles caught in fishing nets by 64%.
As per researchers’ belief, the lights could offer a cheap, reliable, and robust way to lower down the capture and death of birds and turtles, without reducing the intended catch of fish. With this successful research initiative, they have started working with larger fisheries in Peru and with different colored lights to see if the results can be repeated and applied to other critically endangered species.
“We are very encouraged by the results from this study,” researcher Jeffrey Mangel said. “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.”
This definitely is one of the most unique applications of LEDs. With the evolution of technology and further research LED lighting is being used at various platforms in an effective manner.