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. MORE