Location, orientation, and economic performance of low-powered LED lights inside snow crab traps in eastern Canada
This study investigated the effect of installing underwater Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights in different locations and orientations inside baited traps targeting snow crab Chionoecetes opilio off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, as well as the economic performance associated with using lights in this fishery. Our results showed no significant differences in catch per unit effort (CPUE) for both legal and sublegal-sized crab among the different experimental treatments, however
... eatments, however all of the experimental (illuminated) traps harvested significantly more crab (+53% on average) than control traps (without lights). Longer soak time did not affect the catch rate of the control traps, however it significantly increased the catch rate for the illuminated traps. The proportion of legal-sized and sublegal-sized crab accounted for 73% and 27%, respectively for both control and illuminated traps. In addition, there were no significant differences in crab size distributions between pairwise comparisons. In terms of economic feasibility, we show that an investment in LED lights by a fishing enterprise will require additional variable costs, however our analysis reveals the financial break-event point can be reached after approximately two years. A profit of $164,920 CDN per vessel was predicted during the life cycle of a typical light (e.g. 14 years), compared to traditional capture methods (without lights). This gain was proportional with crab prices and allocated quota level. These results suggest that fishing enterprises can increase their profitability by using LED lights in the snow crab fishery.