Recfishwest Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund Project.
Fabulous FADs open up a wealth of sport fishing opportunities
Working in conjunction with local fishing clubs, Recfishwest is developing and deploying a network of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) off the coast of the Perth metro and WA regional centres as part of a three-year trial program.
FADs have been used across Australia and off the coasts of places such as Costa Rica and Hawaii to great effect to enhance sport-fishing opportunities for spectacular-fighting pelagic species such as mahi-mahi (dolphin fish), tuna, billfish and mackerel.
Funded by recfishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, we have developed the trial program working closely with local fishing clubs and have coordinated the production and physical deployment of the FADs.
This is exactly how we believe RFIF funds should be spent – as seed money to test ground-breaking projects such as this, that create great fishing opportunities for which there is high demand and support within the recfishing community.
For those who might not be familiar with the concept, FADs are essentially large floats anchored to the seafloor in open water, where they aggregate schools of baitfish, which in turn draw sizeable aggregations of pelagic species.
This creates spectacular sport-fishing opportunities for boat fishers – to get a flavor of just how good the fishing can be – check out this sensational footage filmed by Luke Ryan of TackleWest on the existing metro FADs.
If you’ve got a medium-size or larger boat (or even a tinnie if you’re in Broome!) sensational fishing like this could be accessible to you in the locations below:
Expected time of deployment: End of November or early December. Number of FAD’s/strategy: Two additional FADs going in West of Rottnest in addition to existing Perth Game Fishing Club FADs as well as four FADs for to be deployed further north, which can be accessed by boats launching out of northern metro ramps.
Expected time of deployment: End of November or early December. Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing four FADs in the more temperate waters off Albany, they could potentially draw species like yellowtail kingfish. First time recreational fishing FADS have ever been deployed off Albany.
Expected time of deployment: End of November or early December. Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing four FADs for the first time off the cape in an area where the Leeuwen current flows – we’re expecting to see good aggregations of mahi-mahi here.
Expected time of deployment: Feb/March 2020 Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing three FADs West of the Abrolhos and one in closer to shore. Out-wide you can expect mahi-mahi, wahoo, tuna and marlin, while mahi-mahi and mackerel could be the go along the FAD that is closer to shore.
Expected time of deployment: Feb/March 2020. Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing four FADs west of Ningaloo Reef. We are expecting good numbers of mahi-mahi, along with the possibility of wahoo and various species of tuna and billfish.
It’s been a long journey and we’ve had to wade through a mess of red tape and push hard uphill all the way, but finally we’re here.
We’re really excited to be able to deliver this trial program, build our understanding and expertise in this space and be in a stronger position to source future investment in FADs from recfishing licence money and potentially industry sponsors.
So once they’re in, get out there and have a crack – we’re sure you’ll quickly become a FAD fanatic if you’re not already!