WA fish aggregating device (FAD) network

RECREATIONAL fishers in Perth and regional Western Australia can expect great fishing for iconic pelagic species such as mahi-mahi and marlin with the deployment of a series of offshore fish aggregating devices (FADs).

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly today announced purpose-built floats will be anchored to the seabed at locations off Perth, Albany, Bunbury and Cape Naturaliste over the next few weeks, and off Geraldton, Exmouth and Broome early next year.

The McGowan Government will invest $439,000 of recfishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund for the installation, maintenance and monitoring of the 26 devices over the next three years.

The FAD acts as a floating fish beacon in open ocean to attract schools of baitfish, which brings in large numbers of fast-growing migratory pelagic species such as mahi-mahi, marlin, tuna and wahoo.

Concentrated aggregations of these species make for spectacular fishing for boat fishers and have been used successfully throughout Australia. Off the metropolitan coast, the Perth Game Fishing Club deploys FADs in November each year and then retrieves them the following May. This latest deployment will bring the total number of FADs off Perth to 12.

The 20 new regional FAD installations are expected to attract visiting fishers and bring a welcome economic boost to regional towns and centres, with recfishers spending $1.8 billion a year on fishing trips.

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