UK, Exeter. A research team including the engineering firm Fishtek Marine and the University of Exeter published a study on the effects of LED lights on crab and lobster pots. The lights had no impact on crabs or lobsters but were surprisingly alluring for scallops.
Fishermen off the coast of Cornwall had been testing the lights and reported a significant amount of scallops caught in the pots. Wild-caught scallops are usually fished using dredges and trawls, so the findings present a chance to develop a new, low-impact fishing method for the high-price seafood.
Dr Rob Enever, head of science and uptake at Fishtek said that "Boats that would only see two or three scallops in their pots annually were now seeing 20 or more in a single pot. We have found something really astonishing here. This could be a real opportunity for crab and lobster fishers, because the lights don’t seem to reduce the number of crabs and lobsters they can catch – they just bring in an extra haul of scallops."
Further work is planned this summer to optimise this new method of fishing by trialling different lights, pot designs in different areas of the UK in order to establish a new, low-impact and commercially viable fishery for scallops.
Dr Phil Doherty, from the University of Exeter, said: "We are delighted to be working with an excellent local company to do the science that underpins innovation that could be good for fishers and the environment."
Source: University of Exeter