Currently, wild-caught baitfish are thrown into the water around fishing boats to encourage the feeding behaviour of Skipjack tuna. However, this project is looking to find alternatives to wild-caught baitfish to reduce the environmental impact of the pole and line fishery. Pisces underwater LED lights will be tested in this project and CatchCam will be used to watch the behavioural responses of tuna.
In the Maldives, vessels and fishers are responsible for catching their own baitfish. As a result, fishermen have severely limited sleep and must be at sea all night before they begin fishing for tuna. Furthermore, fishing for baitfish uses more fuel.
If successful, this project will have massive impacts for the pole and line fishery.
Firstly, pole and line fishers could spend more time with their families and get proper rest. Secondly, pole and line tuna fisheries could be developed in areas such as Cabo Verde and Senegal, where there is a lack of baitfish. As a result, these fisheries could boost the local economies. Lastly, using alternatives to baitfish will help conserve the resources of live baitfish.
Image taken from IPNLF website