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University develops energy-saving LED lamp to enhance fishing

TAIPEI--A Taiwanese university said yesterday it has developed a light emitting diode (LED) fishing lamp device that can save energy and costs for fishermen, as well as enhance their ability to attract fish to remain longer near their boats.

“The LED lamp can help reduce the overall fuel consumption of fishing boats by 15 to 20 percent,” Shen Sheng-chih, a National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) professor, who helped to develop the device, said at a press conference.

Moreover, the device uses only less than 10 percent of the power required by traditional fishing lamps, which therefore allows freezers on fishing boats to continue operating to ensure catches remain fresh, Shen said.

Many fisherman turn off their freezers to save power while running the traditional lamps, he explained.

Shen and Fang Ming-chung, both professors from the university's Department of Systems and Naval Mechatronic Engineering, developed the lamp over five years with a NT$20 million (US$668,634) funding from the Council of Agriculture (COA).

The lamp was also designed to project patterns of light on the surface of the ocean to attract fish, Shen said, adding that the lamp is the first in the world to be designed with such a function.

He said the lamp's unique light patterns can attract fish to remain longer in the lit areas and seeks to dispel the myth that the brighter the light the better, Shen said.

In addition, the professor said the LED lamp is also safer for fishermen, who are often exposed to hazardous ultraviolet rays emitted by traditional fishing lamps.

Over the past three years, the lamp has been used on some Taiwanese fishing vessels, and test results have shown that fuel costs can be cut by around NT$300,000 a year for offshore vessels and by over NT$2 million per four-month voyage for open ocean vessels, Shen said.

If all fishing vessels in the country used the LED lamp, fishermen could save a total of NT$600 million to NT$700 million in fuel costs each year, according to the study.

Shen added that the LED lamp can easily be switched on and off, “unlike traditional lamps, which cannot be turned on for up to 20 minutes after being switched off.” He added that this function allows fishermen to have better control over when they catch fish.

The results of the study have been given to two local manufacturers and Japanese companies have also expressed interest in the technology, as similar lamps in Japan may be 10 times more expensive, said Fang.

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