LED-Lit Net Could Save Sea Turtles
Nearly 180 species of fish that glow have been identified in a new study led by scientists from theAmerican Museum of Natural History
. The study, published in Thursday'sPLOS ONE
, shows how the fish absorb light and eject it as a different color for varied reasons including communicating and mating. Above, a biofluorescent surgeonfish (
©AMNH/J. Sparks, D. Gruber, and V. Pieribone
A green biofluorescent chain catshark (
A red fluorescing scorpionfish (
) perched on red fluorescing algae at night in the Solomon Islands.
©AMNH/J. Sparks and D. Gruber
A triplefin blennie (
.) under white light (above) and blue light (below).
Sea turtles, which have been around for 200 million years, are facing certain doom. Human population booms along coastlines, as well as poaching and fishing are threatening species. Gill nets in particular endanger turtles when the animals get caught in them and drown.
A team of conversationists called Grupo Tortuga is working with local people in Baja California’s Magdelena Bay to help save loggerhead turtles.
Their goal is to reduce turtle deaths while at the same sustain incomes for people who depend on fishing. In addition to helping establish a base of eco-tourism in the area, they’ve also promoted a fishing net developed by University of Hawaii biologist John Wang and his team.
The net is strung with LED lights that appear to attract more halibut while at the same deterring sea turtles from approaching. In a study conducted by Wang, he found that sea turtle by-catch was reduced by about 50 percent.
You can hear more about the project in this 5-minute video below.