Commercial fishing is a business. Fishers (like all businessmen) aim to maximise their profits in the shortest time possible. In doing this, outgoings (fuel, bait, food) and risks (gear damage and safety) are minimised allowing the potential profits to be maximised. When catch rates are low, time spent at sea increases and the profitability of the trip decreases.
Technological advancements in static gear fishing has predominantly focussed on the fishing vessel capabilities, with increased power, range, communications, sophisticated sonar and GPS tracking to name a few. To date, little has changed in the way the gear fishes on the seabed. Potting today is still largely as it was at the turn of the century.
A number of exciting and game-changing studies from scientists around the world have found that introducing light in pots and traps can significantly increase catch rates of target species.
Illuminated traps can massively increase crustacean catches!
Imagine if you could increase the catch rate of crabs by 77% just by placing an LED light inside your baited pots? That’s exactly what scientists in Newfoundland found when they used LEDs in snow crab pots!
The results were dramatic! Not only were 77% more crab showing up in the traps set with bait and a white LED, there was also an increase in a key measure — the catch per unit of effort (CPUE) of fish harvesters. Amazingly, even pots with no bait and just an LED light caught crab!
Exactly why there is an increase in catch isn’t fully understood. It’s thought that in a dark environment, LED lights could outline the trap as a potential shelter, or that the crabs could just be eager to get to the highlighted bait. Another suggestion is that LED lights make it easier for the crabs to find the entrance to the traps. Whatever the reason, the results are clear; crabs who used to rely solely on the smell of fish to locate the trap are now responding to LED lights too!
Illuminated traps can significantly increase fish catches!
In a similar story to the crabs, in the Baltic Sea, scientists discovered that illuminating cod traps with green LEDs increased the weight of cod caught by 80% compared to traps without LEDs. For fish, it’s thought that the increased visibility of the cod’s active prey items (krill etc.) draws them into the traps. This can be seen clearly in the video below.
Other studies also showed a peak in cod yields in traps after approximately 6 days soak time. It is thought that the smell of herring fades after 1-2 days. Therefore, lights enabled to gear to fish for longer. It is important to know you gear is still fishing should you need to leave the grounds and return after bad weather, for example.
Increased catch rates in a quota limited fishery would mean that the fishing gear is deployed for less time. E.g. In a quota limited pot and trap fishery, where incidental entanglement of cetaceans occurs, an increased catch rate (resulting in a shorter fishing season) presents a novel conservation opportunity.
That is, if catch rates in a quota limited pot and trap fishery increase by 50%, then the gear is in the water for less time, reducing the potential for cetacean entanglements incidents accordingly by 50%.
There are many fisheries globally where fisheries managers would prefer fishers to switch to fish traps over more impactful gears such as gill netting (e.g. for cetacean, seabird or sea turtle bycatch reduction) or trawling (habitat damage). To date, in many of these fisheries, catch rates of target species in traps has not been enough to make the fishery economically viable and the fishers (understandably) have rejected calls to switch gear. That said, if fisher concerns over poor catch rates in trap fishing were mitigated by the introduction of trap illumination, managers and scientists would be presented with an opportunity to achieve conservation outcomes through gear switching.
Unrivalled by anything on the market. The Fishtek Marine PotLight costs a fraction of the price of its competitors, yet outperforms them in every aspect. They go much deeper, shine brighter, have a longer battery life and, most importantly, survive the rigours of the fishing environment by being supremely tough and long lasting.
By combining a low price point with high quality, we believe we can offer fishermen a product that will help them maximise their economic returns on each trip, whilst at the same time not breaking the bank and resulting in conservation outcomes. A product that works for both fishermen and the environment!
The increased visibility of the cod’s active prey items (krill etc.) draws them into the traps.
Increase catches of pot and trap caught species. Designed to provide 500 – 800 hours of light and available in a range of colours, flashing or constant light (depending on the model – see Technical Specifications). Brighter illumination and longer battery life than any other similar products on the market!
The PotLIght is made of tough, injection moulded polycarbonate. It gives an astonishing depth rating of over 1200 meters which allows you to fish deeper and with more confidence.
At a fraction of the price of leading light competitors, Fishtek Marine’s new PotLight has now opened the way for affordable uptake. Simple battery replacement using readily available, rechargeable AA batteries.
EASY TO USE
Automatic immersion switch reliably turns the light on when entering the water and switching it off when out of the water. Easy attachment hole for fixing to the inside of the pot/trap using a conventional snap and split ring or a simple cable tie.
BUY POTLIGHT NOW
- Battery life500 or 800+ hours (constant or flashing)
- Dimensions105mm x 40mm x 22mm
- Weight (with batteries) 105 grams
- In-water weight 34 grams
- Depth rating 1200 m
- Battery type 2 x replaceable AA alkaline
- Immersion switch Automatic immersion switch
- Attachment hole diameter 5.5 mm
- PotLight housing Tough, injection moulded polycarbonate
Fishing Light Maintenance Kit
Maintain your Fishtek fishing lights by replacing the O-rings every three years or when needed. O-rings, silicon grease and a cap removal screwdriver included.