SETFIA member Wayne Cheers was recently out seining for flathead 50 kilometers east of Lakes Entrance (Victoria) and was stumped when his gear tangled with a strange plastic yellow device floating freely on the surface . Wayne retrieved the barnacle encrusted plastic cone and set out to find why a black cylinder attached to it was beeping with a flashing red light.
After some investigation, a few Facebook posts and a fair few phone calls, it turns out the buoy is owned by the NSW Department of Primary Industries NSW and is (or was) part of a Fish Aggregating Device, or FAD. The FAD also includes a listening device that can detect signals from tagged fish like marlin, white sharks, mahi mahi and kingfish and a GPS tracking device.
This particular FAD broke free from it’s mooring off Jervis Bay (NSW) in December last year, so it was drifting for quite some time before being found again. DPI report that this is not uncommon and that buoys normally eventually wash up on beaches. SETFIA have trucked the device back to DPI in Sydney who were very pleased to have it return home for re-deployment. Wayne even scored a free t-shirt for his trouble!
SETFIA has previously worked with NSW DPI’s FAD program to identify locations where trawlers cannot work like rough ground or wrecks so that FADs, and the recreational fishermen they attract, are safe from trawlers.
More information about the NSW DPI FAD program is available here or by contacting Nathan McNamara on 0439-436678.