In line with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment’s efforts to develop a domestic small-scale fishery in Palau, the Bureau of Fisheries (BoF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) conducted a three-day anchored Fishing Aggregating Device (aFAD) fishing training for Ngardmau fishers. The training which was led by Erbai Yukio and Roman Mongami from the BoF and Dr. Alex Filous and Keobel Sakuma from TNC began on Wednesday, July 13 and consisted of two days of classroom and hands-on practical exercises on FAD fishing techniques and rigging and one day of on-the-water practical training. Participants, which included over 20 Ngardmau fishers including Speaker Kumangai and Governor Aderkeroi, learned techniques on jigging, drop-stone fishing, palu-ahi and trolling.
The BoF aFAD Program provides small-scale, artisanal fishers with safe and reliable access to a productive aFAD network for subsistence and market needs. In addition to the artisanal fishing sector a reliable aFAD network benefits both the emerging pole and line fishery and sportfishing ecotourism. Efforts like this recent training are underway to build this program, including through training on at-sea safety and aFAD fishing techniques, aFAD deployments and research on tuna association and movements with FADs to identify future placement opportunities. BoF and TNC are addressing the need for additional training and increased availability of appropriate fishing gears with stable and continued funding to maintain an anchored FAD network for Palau’s fishing communities so that fishers can depend on the FADs being in productive locations month after month, year after year.
The participants were able to test their rigging and techniques on Friday, the last day of training at the two aFADs on the west coast. The program was a success and over 200 lbs. of pelagic fish were caught and distributed to the community.