Not quite so Attractive

Not quite so Attractive

We recently posted a story about LEDs attracting so many fish they have been banned in India. But off the coast of South America green LEDs have been used to see if they prevent turtles getting caught in nets. Researchers from the University of Exeter have observed a 64% reduction of turtles trapped in nets that have LED lights every 10 metres along the float line.

Safety in numbers

Control nets without lights caught 125 turtles compared to illuminated nets that caught 62. That reduction is an encouraging result and in percentage terms it is substantial enough to encourage further research. The lights do not deter fish, which, along with the affordability of the LEDs, means there is a good chance of their actually being used in small scale fisheries.
Fewer turtles netted is clearly a good thing, although just as clearly for 62 turtles the solution was not entirely satisfactory. They don’t all drown, but those tossed back alive after being rapidly pulled from the depths can get the bends and die later. Hopefully if they survive they might in future avoid those lights.

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