When a commercial pilot posted a picture of eerie, glowing red lights over the Pacific Ocean, it got the internet buzzing. Guesses included the apocalypse, UFOs and the Upside Down from “Stranger Things,” but the reality was much fishier.
Neil Jacobs, a weather modeling expert, confirmed to CNN that the red glow, which can actually be seen from outer space, was from massive LED light rigs on commercial fishing boats. And it turns out, the LEDs are a significant upgrade from how these boats used to operate.
Squid and Pacific saury, a long, narrow fish, are big game for fishing operations in the Northern Pacific Ocean. These boats use elaborate fishing lamps to draw the creatures to the surface.
But according to Delta Electronics, traditional fishing lamps, which hold a lot of glass light bulbs, use a ton of energy and drive up fuel costs for fishing vessels. They are also hazardous to fishing crews because they emit high amounts of UV and infrared, which can cause eyesight problems and skin damage. Plus, h-aving a bunch of breakable glass over your head on a ship swaying in the sea doesn’t sound fun.
The company touts its LED fishing lamps as a solution to those problems that can also boost catch yields. The LED lights also don’t require time to warm up like traditional fishing lamps and they feature optical design with a spectrum of light ideal for catching both squid and saury.
The red LED lights do indeed look spooky when viewed from above through a cloud cover but it turns out the phenomenon can be easily explained.