Euronete Glow-in-the-Dark Gear Boosts Catches
Fishing with light is nothing new. The fleets of squid jiggers fishing in the South Atlantic that can be seen from space demonstrate how important the use of light is to attract squid and other species. There has been a great deal of research into the use of light, and the interest in this is increasing as luminous netting has been successfully developed.
Although there are many questions still to be answered, light clearly has a significant untapped potential for both attracting fish to fishing gears, as well as in deterring unwanted species from coming too close, with implications for improving selectivity.
According to Miguel Oliveira at Euronete, a type of netting they have developed to glow in the dark, named EuroGlow®, has been used in Canada for rigging crab pots, and the results have been highly encouraging.
EuroGlow® can retain its luminescence for up to eight hours
‘Catches went up by 30%, at the same time as bait requirement fell by half. So these fishermen have gained with both better fishing and reduced running costs,’ he said. ‘Our agents there have already re-ordered this netting four times.’
Euronete’s EuroGlow glow-in-the-dark netting has been developed using luminous fibres, and the netting also has a high abrasion resistance to cope with the rigours of crab fishing.
‘We see a potential for this and now we are discussing this with customers on where they see opportunities to use this in other gears, such as trawls and in aquaculture cages to guide fish where we want them to go,’ he said.
‘There have been a lot of studies carried out and recently our engineers attended the ICES-FAO Working Group on Fishing Technology and Fish Behaviour (WGFTFB), looking at developments in fishing gears – and spent two days in that week talking about light; it seems to be one of the most promising technologies to bring greater selectivity.’
A key part of using luminous netting is it has to be able to recharge by being exposed to sunlight, and the filaments that Euronete has been using in the composition of its PE pot netting supplied to Canada are now sensitive enough to be recharged in a matter of seconds by being exposed to sunlight.
‘A minute is enough to recharge it, and it can retain its luminescence for up to eight hours. I tell customers that it’s six hours, as the glow gradually decreases. There is still a level of luminescence after six hours, although by then it’s quite low to our eyes, but it’s still visible to fish,’ he said.
Euronete's EuroGlow® netting
‘We were in the right place at the right time to start using this and it has been a real success for the crab fishermen in Canada. EuroGlow charges very fast and this fibre has been proved to be effective, as we have seen with the crabbing trials in Canada, but now the challenge is to find other uses for this and we certainly see opportunities for this,' he said.
'Now people are coming to us to talk about light as a deterrent as well as an attractant, and they are interested in whales, sharks, sea lions and other species, and this clearly has a potential in deterring some species from approaching fishing gears, while light attracts others.’
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