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Kehayias G., Tzavali A., Gini M., Michopoulou E., Tsounis L. 2018. Fish predation in the proximity of purse seine fishing lights: The case of Atherina boyeri (Actinopterygii: Atheriniformes: Atherinidae) in a Greek Lake. Acta Ichthyol. Piscat.  48 (1): 51–60.

Background. Purse seining with the use of light is among the most common fishing practices around the world, but there is lack of studies on the effect of light on the feeding of the target species in this kind of fishery and the possible consequences for other prey species. The presently reported investigation intended to provide indications on this issue by studying the diet of Atherina boyeri Risso, 1810, which is the target species of professional purse seine fishery, conducted using light in Lake Trichonis (Greece), and by comparing the acquired results with those of previous studies where the samples were taken without using light.

Materials and methods. A seven-month (June through December 2014) purse seining fishing was conducted at night around two lamp rafts: 1) a traditional lamp raft producing white LED light and 2) an autonomous photovoltaic-battery-LED lamp raft producing green LED light. Stomach content analysis was conducted on 100 randomly selected specimens from each sample and the relative prey abundance and frequency of occurrence for each prey category was estimated. Calculations of predation pressure of A. boyeri upon the fish larvae of a goby, Economidichthys trichonis Economidis et Miller, 1990, were performed.

Results. The study revealed the intense effect of light on the attraction and capture of prey species rarely found in previous studies, such as the larvae of the native and endangered fish E. trichonis, amphipods, and copepod nauplii. No significant differences were observed between the two light colours. A preference shift to larger prey with the increase of ontogenetic stage of A. boyeri was observed. Several thousands of pre-recruited E. trichonis larvae may be preyed upon each night around a single lamp especially during summer.

Conclusion. Fishing with light may alter the dietary preference of the target fish species and even of the entire fish community. This may have serious consequences on the younger ontogenetic stages of other fish populations, especially when it coincides with their reproductive period. Considering the lack of similar field studies, the present results may stimulate analogous investigations on the effects of fishing lights in other marine and freshwater ecosystems worldwide.

Keywords: feeding, purse seine, Atherina boyeri, LED light



DOI: 10.3750/AIEP/02329

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