The Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR) deployed a Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) near the outer reef off of Aimeliik State on Thursday, October 15, to support the community’s local pelagic fishing.

Mr. Fabio Siksei, Fisheries Specialist at BMR, said that the deployment was in response to requests from Aimeliik State Governor Browny Simer to help local fishermen determine where to catch pelagics such as yellowfin tuna.

The FAD, which is a buoy acting as a magnet for pelagic fish, was deployed by a team of “five experts”, according to Mr. Siksei, in waters the right depth to attract schools of yellowfin tuna.

The FAD was also anchored in a “big area with a flat surface”, which should help the buoy from being lost. Numerous FADs in the waters of Palau have drifted away and disappeared, Mr. Siksei said, usually in waters where the ground drops off.

The deployment of the Aimeliik FAD is part of a national strategic plan to promote local pelagic fishing and food security, based on research conducted at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) by fisheries biologist Dr. Alexander Filous. Dr. Filous’ research on FADs and yellowfin tuna movement between 2016 and 2020 showed that juvenile yellowfins often gather in waters which are between 1,000 and 1,600 meters deep.

The plan is designed to help local “small-scale” fishermen catch pelagics in designated offshore areas which are accessible by small motorboats, and close enough to land to not force fishermen to overspend on fuel. Studies by Dr. Filous, who collaborated with BMR, attempted to pinpoint locations around Palau where large groups of juvenile yellowfins tend to gather. 

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