Fish aggregating devices
Fish aggregating devices (FADs) are structures placed in the sea to aggregate some species of pelagic fish. These include tunas, sharks, marlin, mahi mahi and yellowtail kingfish. Originally developed for commercial fishing, FADs have become increasingly used around Australia to provide recreational fishing opportunities.
Understanding why FADs work has attracted a lot of scientific interest. The traditional view is that FADs provide structure for small organisms to colonise which then attracts small fish – and in turn, larger fish. Research also suggests that migrating fish use FADs as a resting place or a geographical reference point. The reasons why particular fish are attracted to FADs differs between species.
In February, the Tasmanian Government deployed three FADs off the east coast – two in Coles Bay and one near Binalong Bay. They were deployed on a trial basis and retrieved at the end of April to avoid interactions with migrating whales.
They will be re-deployed in December 2021 along with other FADs at different locations around Tasmania, both inshore and offshore. Depending on how successful they are at providing fishing opportunities in Tasmania, they may be deployed at more locations in the coming years.
An online survey was conducted in May 2021 to understand recreational fishing around the FADs during the trial period. The survey was also open to people who hadn’t fished around the FADs to gain information about how Tasmanian fishers view FADs in general.
Read the results:
FAD Survey Report 2021
In 2018, the Government committed funds to deploy two artificial reefs in Tasmanian waters for recreational fishing enhancement – one at Great Bay in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and one off Turners Beach near Ulverstone. These locations were identified in a feasibility study which involved considerable public consultation.
It is expected that approvals to deploy both reefs will be given by the end of this year and deployments will commence early next year.