State-wide FADS trial program

Overview

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.

Funded by recfishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, the trial began in November last year (2019) with six new FADs deployed off the metro coast to complement the already successful Perth Game Fishing Club’s (PGFC) FADs.

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

Not long after the Perth deployment, eight new FADs were deployed off the South Coast, four off Albany and four off Cape Naturaliste. These FADs have opened up some great new sport-fishing opportunities for boat fishers in the south-west of the State with dolphinfish and tuna being commonly caught off them.

The deployment of FADs off Albany was a first and was considered a wild card as they have never been used that far south but, so far, they have proven to be a great success and have provided the Albany fishing community with a new fishery for dolphinfish.

The latest addition to the program was the deployment of three new FADs off Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth – with fish caught off them in under two days of deployment!

This is exactly how we believe recreational fishing 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.

On balance, the first six months of the program have been a success with some valuable lessons learned and we are looking forward to extending the program to Broome (June 2020) and Geraldton (November 2020) in the coming year. Find out more here.

The Broome FADs are particularly ground-breaking, as they’re being deployed in shallow water, relatively close to shore making them easily accessible to fishers in all boat sizes including tinnies. This could potentially open up some great bait-holding potential to enhance fishing action for pelagic species within just a quick run-out from the boat ramp.

We would like to thank PGFC for their expertise and all the other fishing clubs who’ve been involved in helping develop the FADs program.