Lighting the way to snow crab attraction

The Atlantic Canada snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) fishery may have started out as a bycatch fishery over 60 years ago, but today it has become the second most valuable export fishery in Canada. In 2013, The Newfoundland and Labrador snow crab fishery had the honour of becoming the 200th fishery to receive Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. Improving the catchability of snow crab, as for any fishery, has garnered significant interest, though can be challenging to achieve.

At the fourth International Marine Conservation Congress, PHD candidate Khanh Nguyen, who is based at Marine Institute, Memorial University in Newfoundland, described one way snow crab fisheries can increase catchability – and without spending vast amounts of money redesigning gear.

Mr Nguyen’s research has focused on exploiting the snow crab’s biology – specifically its ability to detect and react to lights. A number of marine species are known to be attracted to lights, with some commercial fisheries, such as squid jigging, using lights to lure their prey. Whereas some fisheries use relatively powerful lights, Mr Nguyen’s interest was in the use of low powered, coloured LED lights.

This article was written for (and can be read in full at) The Fish Site.

Crab pots in Newfoundland, Canada. Credit Derek Keats/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Crab pots in Newfoundland, Canada. Credit Derek Keats/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)