Fish Agregation Device (FAD)

In the early 1900s, fishermen in Indonesia and the Philippines began building floating rafts of bamboo and other materials to attract schools of fish. These man-made structures were the first fish aggregating devices, or FADs.

Pictures. (a). traditional FAD and (b). Modern FAD

Although fishermen have been using FADs for nearly a century, and much is now known about the behaviour and biology of tunas and other pelagic fishes, the reasons why FADs attract fish still remain largely unexplained. There are some theory suggest, such as :

a.    Shelter and protection
This theory suggests that both the FAD raft and the mooring line offer protection to fish from predators.
b.    Orientation
This theory argues that fish use the FAD as a physical reference point in an ocean generally devoid of such signals. Some tuna species have been observed to leave the FAD at night to feed, and return during the day, while others appear to remain close to the FAD at night and forage during the day.

FADs allow fishermen to concentrate their fishing effort in an area where the fish are themselves concentrated. As a result, overall catches and catch rates around FADs tend to be higher than in open-water fishing.

FADs aggregate different fish at different depths. Small tunas are usually found schooling near the surface. Larger yellowfin, bigeye and albacore tunas generally gather near FADs at depths between 50 m and 300 m, although they can also be found closer to the surface at times, especially at night. Other fish species, including rainbow runner, mahi-mahi, sharks and billfish are also commonly attracted to FADs.

Source (

Why deploy FADs?

  1. Increasing fisheries production

FAD programmes may also be implemented in order to increase the production and efficiency of an existing commercial pelagic fishery. FADs can make it possible for fishermen to produce good catches more consistently, an important factor in developing markets
2.    Reducing pressure on reef resources
If fishermen who normally fish inshore are able to catch more fish and earn better incomes by  hanging to FADbased tuna fishing, the fishing pressure on inshore resources will be reduced

3.    Imports and exports
One of the most lucrative additional benefits from FAD deployment programmes can be the export of high-quality fish to other countries where higher prices can be obtained.

4.    Sports fishing
FADs are known to attract marlin and other sport fish such as tunas, wahoo, mahi mahi and sharks.

5.    Commercial development
Increased fish catches resulting from the deployment of FADs can lead to the development of small-scale secondary enterprises which produce value-added products, such as smoked or dried tuna for local consumption or export. Such activities create employment opportunities for people other than those directly involved in catching fish, particularly women.

6.    Fuel consumption
Searching for fish generally takes up a lot of time and consumes large amounts of fuel. FADs focus fishing effort. Fishermen can proceed directly to and from the FAD to fish. No search time is required, much less fuel is consumed and more time is spent fishing. Reduced fuel consumption means lower expenses for the fishermen.

The potential for FADs to provide the benefits expected of them may be reduced unless a careful assessment of their possible impact is made. ‘How FADs can go wrong’ gives an account of a FAD programme that did not deliver the benefits expected, even though the FADs worked.

FAD’s could be trigger for overfishing if there is not a good plan to manage them. Ministry Of Marine Affairs And Fisheries in Indonesia have a regulation to managed FAD. With Kep.30/Men/2004 there has an arrangement for assemblies FAD’s such as :
–    Area that allow for assemblies FAD’s link to local government for licencing.
–    Distance between FAD’s
–    Utilization of FAD’s

Using an environment friendly Fishing method are more less important for support FAD’s, Based on FAO (1995) there are a criteria for fisheries gear that environtment friendly  appropriate with Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) which are :
1.    High selective
2.    Non destructive habitat
3.    Produce a high quality of fish
4.    No harmfull for fisherman
5.    Non harmfull product for consument
6.    Low bycatch
7.    Less affect to biodiversity
8.    Non harmfull for protected species
9.    Acceptable for community

Handline arevthe one of the environment friendly gear for fishing, 9 criteria are include in this method.Combination management FAD with environment friendly method certainly support for sustainable fisheries, because it less pressure for environment and avoid for overfishing.

·    PIMRIS.1998. FAD “Fish Agregation Device”. Information Bulletin Number 3. Secretariat of the Pacific Community-France.
·    A.James and Gates, P.D. 1996. South Pacific Commission fish aggregating device (FAD) manual- Volume Iplanning fad programmes. South Pacific Commission. Page 4-9.


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