Gillnet illumination as an effective measure to reduce sea turtle bycatch

Citation
Allman P, Agyekumhene A, Stemle L (2021) Gillnet illumination as an effective measure to reduce sea turtle bycatch. Conservation Biology early view: https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13647
Abstract

The growing demand for fish around the world is an immediate threat to marine megafauna that are unintentionally captured in commercial and artisanal fishery operations. Bycatch mitigation strategies, such as turtle excluder devices, circle hooks, and net illumination, have successfully reduced this risk in some fisheries. We explored the effectiveness of gillnet illumination to reduce sea turtle captures in 2 artisanal fisheries (Mankoadze and Winneba, Ghana) under normal fishing conditions. We first quantified sea turtle bycatch in Ghana's artisanal gillnet fishery from 15 boats for 12 months. We then quantified catch of targeted species and sea turtle bycatch from 20 boats for 15 months (7427 net sets). For 10 of these boats, we placed a Centro Economy green light (1 LED) at each 10-m interval on the net. We also quantified target catch and sea turtle bycatch from 30 boats for 8 months (2250 net sets). In 15 of these boats, a Centro Deluxe green light (3 LEDs) was installed at 15-m intervals. Boats with economy lights and those with deluxe lights both exhibited an 81% decrease in sea turtle captures (W = 1, p