Action: Turn deck lights off during night-time setting of longlines to reduce bycatch
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
A single replicated and controlled study in the South Atlantic found significantly lower bycatch rates when deck lights were turned off during line setting at night.
Birds might be attracted to deck lights on fishing boats either to use them to forage, or because birds are generally attracted to lights at night (see ‘Threat: Pollution’ for interventions designed to reduce the threat of light pollution). In either case, birds may be vulnerable, so turning off the lights may reduce mortality.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated and controlled study (Cherel et al. 1996) in February 1994 in the South Atlantic Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides fishery found that seabird bycatch rates on longlines set at night were much lower for lines set when the decklights were turned off, compared to sets with the lights on (0.15 vs. 0.59 birds/1,000 hooks). A total of 21 white-chinned petrels Procellaria aequinoctialis were caught. This study is also discussed in ‘Set longlines at night to reduce seabird bycatch’.