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FAD-tastic summer ahead for southwest Australian fishers

by Lauren Hall 21 Nov 08:23 UTC
Members of Torquay Anglers Club with one of the five FADs to be installed off Torquay © Lauren Hall

Torquay's offshore artificial fishing reef welcomed the return of five fish aggregating devices (FADs) today with another two to be deployed off Lorne and Aireys Inlet in the weeks ahead.

Victorian Fisheries Authority CEO, Travis Dowling, said a FAD is a large floating surface buoy attached to a long rope attached to the bottom. FADs provide structure in an otherwise open sea and attract pelagic gamefish species popular with saltwater fishers.

"Our FADs program is funded by the Victorian State Government's $35 million Target One Million plan to get more people fishing, more often, in more places," Mr Dowling said.

"The five FADS at Torquay are each attached to concrete reef clusters up to four metres high and weighing 20 tonnes. The addition of FADs 25 metres above the reef mean there is more vertical habitat for kingfish, tuna, dolphinfish and trevally.

"The two-year trial of FADs at Torquay saw kingfish captured as anticipated, which is why the trial is being extended and expanded to include two other southwest Victorian locations.

"The two new FADs at Lorne and Aireys Inlet have come about from collaboration with the Lorne Aquatic & Angling Club, which had liked the Torquay FADs and wanted something similar.

"Club members' local knowledge of the waters and kingfish hot-spots guided the decision to locate the two new FADs off Stoney Creek, north Lorne, and offshore of Aireys Inlet."

Mr Dowling said FADs are installed during the warmer months then removed to reduce the risk of damage from large winter swells or entanglement during whale migration.

"We're really excited to hear how the two new FADs perform this summer and look forward to seeing lots of smiling faces with great fish through the holidays."

The Torquay FADs are above the reef at 38 degrees 19.990' S 144 degrees 22.440' E.

Before the end of November 2019, FADs will be deployed at the proposed locations off Lorne (38 degrees 32.264'S 144 degrees 01.940 E) and Aireys Inlet (38 degrees 29.143'S 144 degrees 09.728 E), when fishing for kingfish along the southwest coast really hots up.

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