State-wide FADS trial program

Overview

Working in conjunction with local fishing clubs, Recfishwest continues to develop 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.

In its first 12 months, the trial has already created many new fantastic sportfishing opportunities off WA since it was launched.

Eddie Shepherd with a superb dolphinfish caught off the metro FADs

Eddie Shepherd with a superb dolphinfish caught off the metro FADs

Recfishwest FADs Coordinator Matthew Gillett rigging the metro FADs prior to their deployment in November 2019.

Recfishwest FADs Coordinator Matthew Gillett rigging the metro FADs prior to their deployment in November 2019.

Say cheese! A cracking photo of Cody Suladra with dolphinfish at the metro FADs

Funded by recfishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, the trial began in November 2019 when six FADs were deployed off Perth to complement Perth Game Fishing Club’s (PGFC) existing and successful FADs.

In the program’s first year FADs were also deployed off off Albany and Cape Naturaliste to great effect with dolphinfish and tuna varieties among the regular catches at both locations.

Albany and Cape Naturaliste’s respective FADs are scheduled to be back in the water by early December 2020, with new FADs due to be deployed off Geraldton soon and also FADs off Rockingham in partnership with Mangles Bay Fishing Club.

The State-wide FADs trial’s first year also saw FADs deployed off Exmouth and Broome, each producing terrific results.

This is exactly how we believe recreational fishing funds should be spent – to create great fishing opportunities for which there is high demand and support within the recfishing community.

The Broome FADs, which were deployed in June 2020, marked the most trailblazing deployment of the trial’s first year, with the devices based in relatively shallow water.

The FAD closest to shore proved a hit among small boat owners because it was easily accessible to fishers in all boat sizes, including tinnies, and provided great fishing for cobia.

The FADs further out held large amounts of baitfish, in turn attracted plenty of pelagics including dolphinfish, while small marlin and the occasional sailfish were also encountered nearby the devices.

Broome’s FADs will come back to shore in early December ahead of cyclone season before being redeployed in April, 2021, while we plan to leave  Exmouth’s FADs in place.