Fish Aggregating Device placed in offshore Ambergris Caye

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Captain Shark’s worked closely with the San Pedro Game Fish Association on June 29th to install a fish aggregating device (FAD). The FAD was placed in the waters approximately two miles offshore from El Pescador Resort on Ambergris Caye and anchored at a depth of about 2,400 feet. The main reason for placing the FAD is to show tour guides and business of the potential behind FADs so that local fishermen and tourists on local fishing tours can fish closer to the island.

A FAD is a floating device tethered by rope with buoys and anchored to the water bed with a drum of cement to keep everything in place avoiding it from drifting. FADs are known to attract fish, especially tuna and marlin. However other curious marine life such as sharks, are also attracted to the floating device. The FAD that was installed was anchored at a depth of about 2,400 feet with the use of 1 1/15 inch rope. Ten buoys were also place on it also to attract other fish. The square shaping floating device was built at Captain Shark’s boatyard and was constructed from aluminum, fiberglass and plywood all anchored to a drum of cement at the seabed. On top of the FAD is a solar led light that flashes every second at night to avoid vessels from running over it. The FAD was installed at a cost of about $16,000, which was paid by Captain Shark’s.

Currently fishermen use the old means of finding tuna by following the birds attracted to floating weeds and other drifting large devices. With the FAD, fishermen will be able to fish for tuna and possibly marlin that get attracted by the floating device at the top of the water. In addition, local tour operators who offer fishing tours will also be able to benefit from the placement of FAD off Ambergris Caye.

I spoke to a local fisherman and he told me that he has been fishing around the FAD twice and noticed more tuna, not directly underneath the FAD but just about 200 to300 feet away. That is exactly how the FAD is meant to work,” said Dennis Ritchie of Captain Shark’s. “[The fisherman] also mentioned that there are normally five boats fishing around the FAD as well. This tells us that the FAD is working and we’re very proud and happy about it. We also know that someone caught a marlin near the FAD just a week ago.

Captain Shark is willing to assist in placing more FADs around but because it is costly, the San Pedro Game Fish Association is encouraging other businesses to join and come up with funds to install more FADs. Anyone wishing to sponsor or make contributions to the San Pedro Game Fish Association to install more FADs can do so by contacting Ian or Dennis Ritchie at Captain Shark’s. Fishing around FADs is encouraged. Fishermen are advised that to maintain a healthy marine stock around the floating device, it would be best to fish around the FAD every seven to twenty-eight days.

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