You’ve most likely by now heard about how dolphins are caught in tuna fishing nets in large numbers. That same thing has been happening to sea turtles for decades now. It is estimated that millions of turtles have been ‘accidentaly’ caught up in these nets and die.
In Costa Rica for example, Duke University, Stanford University,San Diego State University and the International Conservation Society have performed a study in Costa Rica showing widespread harmful effects not only on turtles but mammals and birds.
Sea turtles see in the UV range of light. Now, researchers have come up
with small UV LED lights which are attached to fishing nets about 5 feet apart. Studies have shown a drop of about 40 percent in turtles caught in these nets directly as a result of these UV LED lights.
Fish do not see in the UV range so are not disturbed by these UV LED lights. Since fishing is such a big part of local economies and people do need food, environmentalist organizations like the World Wildlife Federation have instead helped with fisheries to develop solutions like these UV LED lights.
The fishing industry realizes also that turtles often destroy their nets and so are cooperating for the most part with new ways to steer turtles clear of nets.
According to the WWF, “The idea is that widely available fishing lights (LED or chemical lightsticks) can be attached to nets to create enough of a warning to alert marine turtles to a barrier.” Technology, though often part of ‘the problem’ at least sometimes offers up hope and benefits.