Illumination of trawl gear by mechanically stimulated bioluminescence

Alan John Jamieson, Olav Rune Godo, Philip Bagley, Julian C. Partridge, Imants George Priede

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The role of bioluminescence stimulated by moving fishing gear was investigated using an ISIT video camera mounted inside a pelagic and demersal trawl. Data presented here show that trawling is responsible for generating bioluminescent light. In two Norwegian fjords, the mean number of bioluminescent events per metre of head rope per second were 5.14 +/- 2.17 and 2.39 +/- 1.0 for a pelagic trawl at similar to 270 m depth and a demersal trawl at similar to 500 m depth, respectively, travelling at 2-4 knots. By extrapolation of these data, thousands of point-source flashes occur over the entire mouth of a trawl every second during a tow, considerably increasing its visual presence to fish. The occurrence of stimulated bioluminescent flashes on a trawl in deep-water may provide sufficient illumination to permit herding in the absence of ambient space light. The aim of this study is to bring to the attention these preliminary observations of mechanically stimulated bioluminescence by mobile trawl gear as possible visual detection stimulus for fish and its potential to affect catch rates by altering herding, escapement and avoidance behaviour. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-282
Number of pages7
JournalFisheries Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • bioluminesence
  • mechanical stimulation
  • trawl gear
  • deep-water
  • visual stimulus
  • fish herding
  • trawl catchibility
  • deep-sea fish
  • Pollock theragra chalcogramma
  • North Atlantic ocean
  • artificial light
  • planktonic bioluminescence
  • epipelagic bioluminescence
  • Mediterannean Sea
  • visual pigments
  • electric light
  • Diel variation


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