Bycatch of seabirds in pelagic longline fisheries is estimated between 160,000 and 320,000 annually (Anderson et al., 2011). Most frequently by-caught are albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters. Seventeen of the 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction. Numerous gear modifications have been applied in order to tackle this problem with methods such as line weighting, night setting and the use of streamer lines successfully demonstrating seabird bycatch reduction where used correctly.
It is widely accepted that correctly used line weighting in longline fisheries is one of the simplest and most effective methods of minimising seabird bycatch. However, in many pelagic longline fisheries around the world there is reluctance to adopt a line weighting regime that will sink fishing gear rapidly to reduce seabird bycatch. In many cases this is due to safety concerns caused by traditional leaded swivels causing serious injuries, and even fatalities, when they fly-back at the crew in the event of line breakage (e.g. from shark bite offs) during line hauling.
In response to crew safety concerns, Fishtek Marine worked closely with fishermen from the east coast tuna fishery, the Australian Antarctic Division, and Australian Fisheries Management Authority to develop a sliding lead concept – The Lumo Lead.
The Lumo Lead, rather than being crimped onto the line, slides onto the monofilament and slides down the line in the event of a bite-off. In addition, when the hook is pulled from the fish’s mouth (or on rare events when the hook straightens under tension) near or on the surface, the Lumo Lead slides down the line, dampening the energy of the recoiling line and hook. Thus, the likelihood of injury to the crew is greatly reduced.
Whilst Lumo Lead significantly reduces the chances of fly backs, Fishtek Marine do not guarantee Lumo Leads will never result in flybacks from happening. To this end, crew must continue to be vigilant and wear the appropriate PPE whilst on deck.
Extensive trials conducted in Australia have shown that 45g Lumo Lead placed at the hook will not reduce target catch (tuna and tuna like species) compared to traditional line weighting regimes.
Increased hook sink rate reduces seabird mortality. Hook sink rates were compared between traditional leaded swivels and Lumo Lead weights. Results showed that sink rates of the Lumo Lead positioned above the hook compared favourably with a much greater mass positioned further up the branchline.
The Lumo leads are easy to fit to monofilament lines and are locked onto the line with a patented collet chuck system. This means no crimping is needed and they don’t weaken the line. They can therefore be easily repositioned at sea.
Lumo leads are made in our UK factory using lead encased in high grade nylon. This is extremely resistant to the harsh conditions at sea.
In addition to reducing bycatch without impacting on operations or catch rate the Lumo Leads also…
GLOWS FOR UP TO 6 HOURS
The Lumo Leads are encased in a 2mm luminescent nylon sheath that glows for up to 6 hours, attracting bait fish to the vicinity of the hook.
INCREASES CREW SAFETY
In contrast to traditional swivel leads, Lumo Leads are designed to slide along the line in the event of a bite-off, reducing the likelihood of flyback injuries. In addition, the nylon coating will prevent the crew from handling exposed lead during gear rigging, setting and hauling.
AVAILABLE IN TWO WEIGHTS
Lumo Leads are available in two sizes, the LL45 and the LL60, weighing 45g and 60g, respectively (± 5%). The LL45 is designed to be placed on the hook, with a crimp sleeve that slides over and protects the crimp. The LL60 should be placed within 2m of the hook.
DIFFERENT COLOURS AVAILABLE
Lumo Leads can be made to order in any colour in the event that a luminescent lead is not required. Fishtek currently produce Lumo Lead in black and translucent white.
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- Choice of weight – 45 / 60 grams
- Lumo option – Glows for up to six hours
- Also available in natural and black
- Easy to attach – Locks to line with a patented collet line grip
- No reduction in target catch