Artificial Light in Commercial Industrialized Fishing Applications: A Review

Nguyen KQ, Winger PD (2019) Artificial Light in Commercial Industrialized Fishing Applications: A Review. Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture 27:106–126.

Fishing with an artificial light stimulus has existed for thousands of years. It started with simple techniques such as burning a large fire on the beach to attract fish, but over the centuries it has become increasingly technologically advanced. Today, the use of artificial light in commercial fishing plays a very important role in contributing to the total catch yield and economy of many industrialized fisheries. In most cases, fishing vessels employ lights at the surface, but more recently, low-powered LED lights installed directly on fishing gear have also become common. Using artificial light in commercial fishing applications appears to produce various outcomes and trade-offs (i.e., positive and negative effects). Positive benefits can include increases in catch rate, reductions in bycatch, and savings in energy, while negative effects can include ecological costs, overfishing, increased bycatch, production of plastic and marine litter, and greenhouse gas emission. This review provides an overview of fish vision in aquatic animals and the use of light in commercial industrialized fisheries, and provides discussion on potential solutions that strengthen the positive effects and minimize the negative effects of using artificial light in fishing applications.