Can ultraviolet illumination reduce sea turtle bycatch in Mediterranean set net fisheries?

  • Published source details Virgili M., Vasapollo C. & Lucchetti A. (2018) Can ultraviolet illumination reduce sea turtle bycatch in Mediterranean set net fisheries?. Fisheries Research, 199, 1-7.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add lights to fishing gear

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Add lights to fishing gear

    A randomized, controlled, paired study in 2015–2016 in sandy-muddy bottom habitat in the north Adriatic Sea, central Mediterranean Sea (Virgili et al. 2018) found that using UV lights on bottom-set gillnets led to fewer loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta being caught. No statistical tests were carried out. No turtles were caught in lit gillnets, compared to 16 individuals in unlit gillnets (1 turtle/1,000 m net length/12 h). Five turtles died after being caught. Catch rates of commercially-targeted fish were similar between lit nets (15 individuals/1,000 m net length/12 h; 17 kg catch/1,000 m net length/12 hours) and unlit nets (14 individuals/1,000 m net length/12 hours soaking time; 17 kg catch/1,000 m net length/12 hours soak time). Data were collected in June–July 2015–2016 during 18 fishing trials. Fishing gear included bottom-set gillnets (average depth of deployment: 54 m) comprising connected netting panels (mesh size: 140 mm, panel length: 100 m, 3 m stretched drop). UV LED lights were positioned 15 m apart along the top line (‘floatline’) of some of the net panels (70 lights/km). Lit (3 km average net length) and unlit panels (1 km average net length) were randomly distributed along each net. A gap of 150 m was left between lit and unlit panels. Nets deployed from a single fishing vessel (18:00–06:00 h; average soak time: 15 hours). Catch of target, discard and unwanted species was monitored.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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