Have you seen our Fishing Attraction Devices?
Five trial fishing attraction devices (FADs) were deployed in waters off Darwin in 2018. Due to a period of sustained large seas and wind three have gone missing.
Two FADs were positioned near the Fenton Patches artificial reef complex and two were positioned in the vicinity of North Gutter. One was also deployed at Dundee and remains in that location.
Early indications showed the FADs were working well, attracting large schools of bait baitfish and several species of mackerel, seeing a positive response from recreational fishers.
The FADs were deliberately over engineered to ensure robustness of the tackle and mooring system, but the design was yet to be tested in Darwin conditions, hence the trial.
One of the Fenton Patches FADs broke free in October 2018 and was later recovered near Wagait Beach with investigations suggesting it was struck and cut free by a large vessel.
Three more are now missing due to inclement weather, and it is unclear if they have broken free, moved or sunk.
If anyone has seen the FADs or has come into contact with them, contact the Fisheries office on 89992144.
The installation of FADs offshore from Darwin was a trial to investigate both the fish attracting properties in NT waters, the design suitability and the longevity of the FAD installations.
Given the encouraging early results the FADs played in providing additional quality fishing opportunities, Fisheries are now focussing on reviewing the locations, investigating why the failures occurred and looking at how to improve and build the next phase of the trial.