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🦈 Illuminated nets save endangered sharks and rays

🦈 Illuminated nets save endangered sharks and rays

Flashing LED lights can scare away fish that commercial fishermen do not want to catch - without reducing the catch of other fish.

Kent Olofsson
Kent Olofsson

A problem for both fish and commercial fishermen is that part of what is caught in the net is bycatches. In other words, fish that were not the target of the fishery. It can affect endangered species such as sharks and rays, wasting valuable time because commercial fishermen have to throw away the species they can not sell.

But now, research from Arizona State University shows there's a simple solution: attaching LED lights to the nets can solve much of the problem.

Professor Jesse Senko at Arizona State University inspects lighted nets that can reduce bycatch by sharks and rays by 95 percent. Photo: Arizona State University.

Previous studies have shown that illuminated nets can help sea turtles avoid nets, and now it turns out that the method also works for other species.

"These results show that the benefits of illuminated nets are not limited to sea turtles, but that the method has the potential to save countless numbers of fish, including endangered species that would otherwise be thrown back into the sea injured or dead," said Jesse Senko, a researcher at Arizona State University. first author of the study in a press release.

An experiment showed that using the right lighting does not scare away the fish the professional fishermen are looking for but reduces the bycatches of sharks and rays by 95 percent. In addition, it was 57 percent faster for commercial fishermen to recover the nets.

"In practical terms, this means that the fishermen in our experiment can save between 55 and 70 minutes per trip when they use illuminated nets. In addition, it can increase the quality of the fish they sell because they can come to port faster and sell a fresher product", says Jesse Senko.

The researchers will now move on and, among other things, try to better understand how different wavelengths of light can affect both the target fish and any bycatch fish.

Read the full study here.

🐳 Humpback whales no longer endangered in Australia
For the first time in 60 years, there are now so many humpback whales in Australia that it is no longer classified as an endangered species.