Five new cutting-edge FADs provide great new sportfishing opportunities for Port Hedland fishers!

Pilbara fishers have received a fantastic boost for offshore fishing options following the installation of five Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) off the Port Hedland coast.

The new FADs were anchored in position this week in waters 20 to 40 nautical miles off Port Hedland. Recfishwest initiated the project, working closely with the local fishing community and in partnership with BHP and maritime-service provider TAMS.

Representing the State’s 700,000 recfishers, Recfishwest pioneered WA’s State-wide FADs program and drew on that expertise to drive the exciting new initiative – a first for Port Hedland.

With BHP’s support, Recfishwest procured high quality “Okabe” FADs to deploy off Port Hedland. The FADs have been built and rigged to withstand big tides and swell and therefore do not need to be taken out of the water during the cyclone season.

Attached to each FAD is a small buoy that provides satellite tracking as well as collecting water temperature data, which will be shared with fishers to enhance their fishing success.

Click here to see the five FADs coordinates off Port Hedland!

An example of what the five cutting edge “Okabe” FADs off the Port Hedland coast look like and the kind of fish they will help attract! Get out there and wet a line next to the devices for the chance to reel in billfish, wahoo, tuna and Spanish mackerel!

Through several stakeholder meetings with Recfishwest, North-West Spearfishing Club, Port Hedland Game Fishing Club and local fishers, it was made clear FADs were high on the wish-list to open up new fishing opportunities. They also advised Recfishwest on optimum locations for the FADs.

North-West Spearfishing Club’s Robbie Peck, who was instrumental in driving the FADs vision for Port Hedland, said, “It’s a great outcome which has created exciting new fishing opportunities for fast-growing, highly sustainable pelagic fish and distributing local fishing efforts across a wider area.

“The outdoor and fishing lifestyle is huge in Hedland – you’re not going to spend any time in the Pilbara without doing one or another. So we’re delighted that Recfishwest and BHP is supporting fishing in the region through initiatives like this that go a long way in adding to the attraction of living here and coming to visit.”

Cindy Dunham, BHP General Manager Port Operations said, “We’re proud to support the deployment of FADs in Port Hedland. We know how important fishing is to the Pilbara community and we hope the FADs will help bring plenty of great fishing days ahead.”

Recfishwest would also like to thank the TAMS group for their support in delivering this project.

Recfishwest’s FADs webpage has all the tips and info you need to know about fishing the FADs, along with their real-time coordinates and deployment status. Get out there and enjoy it!

Mackerel are just one of many pelagic species that will gather around the FADs, so get your lures in the water to find out what’s there! Photo credit: Marco Fraschetti @oceansdownunder.

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