Briefing Paper: Forum on Fish Aggregating Devices

Publication - September 3, 2014
Fish aggregating devices (FADs), called payao in the Philippines and rumpon in Indonesia, are large floating objects deployed by fishing vessels to attract fish and make easier the task of finding and catching them. FADs work because tuna and a whole range of other fish and marine animals instinctively gather around such floating objects (as they do around floating logs and even megafauna such as whales and whale sharks), for shelter and protection and to feed on smaller animals already congregating there. This includes the intended target species (often skipjack tuna) but also juveniles of other commercially valuable tuna species, as well as a wide range of non-commercial species including vulnerable sharks and sea turtles. FADs can be anchored to the seabed in coastal waters or set to drift in the open ocean (with satellite trackers to aid with relocation), and can be fished using a variety of gear types. The use of FADs with non-discriminating fishing gears, such as purse seine and ring nets, which scoop up the whole multi-species aggregation around the FAD, results in increased catch of juvenile tuna and non- target species, with drastic consequences for fisheries and ecosystems alike.

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