Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs)

Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) are man-made objects used to attract pelagic game fishing species such as yellowtail kingfish, southern bluefin tuna and dolphin fish. The use of FADs adds great value to our Victorian Game Fishing scene as they help to attract these open ocean going fish to a specific location and within easy access to boating facilities.

There are five FADs which are deployed along the Torquay artificial reef for six months of the year commencing in October as waters begin to warm, coinciding with kingfish migrations. They are removed prior to winter to avoid damage or loss from the stronger winter swells and to avoid entailing whales during their migration.

Reef Coordinates
138˚ 19.828′ S144˚ 22.500′ E
238˚ 19.942′ S144˚ 22.600′ E
338˚ 20.184′ S144˚ 22.320′ E
438˚ 20.065′ S144˚ 22.225′ E

In 2019, the FAD trial was expanded and a further two FAD’s were introduced along the surf coast at Lorne and Airley’s Inlet. The locations of these FAD’s are:
Lorne: 38° 32.264’S   144° 01.940 E
Aireys Inlet: 38° 29.143’S   144° 09.728 E

FADs can be manufactured in a number of different designs, however, the FADs in Torquay consist of a large buoy floating on the surface attached to a mooring rope that is connected to the artificial reef 25 metres below. Each of the FADs have flashing lights to ensure safety at night and in low light.

VRFish have been a strong advocate of FADs across Victoria to increase fishing opportunities for many years. In 2007-2008,  VRFish member John Hotchin, from the Association of Geelong and District Angling Clubs, and Dr. Matt Koopman, from Southern Freedivers, completed a trial of FADs in Victorian waters. The Barwon Heads FAD remained in place and anglers reported to observing schools of kingfish in the vicinity of the FAD and kingfish and blue sharks were caught nearby.The Portland FAD went missing on two occasions so no data was recorded but provided valuable information to the type of equipment and moorings needed to withstand western Victorian conditions.

In New South Wales, FADs have proven to be highly successful. Around 25 FADs are deployed for the benefit of recreational fishers along majority of the coast. Through active angler communication and engagement, fishers have noted high levels of fishing satisfaction.

FADs Code of Conduct

VRFish developed a Code of Conduct for users of FADs and encourages recreational fishers to respect the code when using FADs.

  • Respect other FAD users at all times.
  • FADs are for the benefit and enjoyment of all recreational sectors.
  • Courtesy should be given to fishers who are already using the FAD.
  • FAD users should take turns in fishing the FAD and accommodate new arrivals.
  • All fishers should keep boats, lines and lures a safe distance from the FAD.
  • Avoid using braid lines near the FADs. This line type can cause cutting damage to the mooring line of the device. Any weak spot in the mooring line may result in the FAD breaking free and the ground tackle being lost.
  • Do not tie your boat up to the FAD.
  • Report any damage to the FAD to the appropriate Owner. For the Torquay FADs, call the Victorian Fisheries Authority on 13 6186 for any damage.
  • Comply with bag limits and only take what you need.
  • Obey maritime rules and regulations.

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