Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles die every year after getting unintentionally netted by fishermen, stumping scientists who are trying to strike a balance between conservation and protecting people's livelihoods, The Independent reports. After observing the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's success with attaching LED lights to nets to reduce sea turtle bycatch, Dr. Jeffrey Mangel tested the technology at fisheries in Peru.
"We started to look at the data in more detail and we realized it looked like the bycatch of seabids was also going down," said Mangel. The lights on the nets reduced turtle bycatch by two thirds, and fishermen also caught 85 percent fewer diving birds while still collecting their same-sized catch.
The finding is especially significant because it is such a cheap and simple fix. "We need to find ways for coastal peoples to fish with the least impact on the rest of the biodiversity in their seas," said another of the study's authors, Professor Brendan Godley. Jeva Lange