Palau Sports Fishing Association (PSFA) deployed a new Fishing Aggregation Devise (FAD) last week at 7°05.767’ North/134° 36.446’ East adding a fifth FAD to its network of FADs in line with its goal of attracting more Palauans to sport fishing and promoting food security and livelihoods.
PSFA board member Stomu Olebuu said “we try every year to deploy a FAD but the expenses are high for our little group. Just the tug boat expenses of about $3,500, specialized rope expenses of about $5,000, the hours of manpower, and materials, it can cost up to $17,500 for one deployment. But PSFA has been deploying off shore FADs, consistently since 2007 because Surangel donates their tug boat and NECO Yamaha donates staff time, boats and materials. Nevermind the time and effort many individual fisherman take to maintain and keep tabs on the FAD network.”
FADs are used to attract ocean going pelagic fish such as marlin, tuna and mahi-mahi. They usually consist of buoys or floats tethered to the ocean floor with concrete blocks. Over 300 species of fish can aggregate around FADs in the open ocean around the world.
Long time fisherman and PSFA board member, Noriuo Ubedei, identified PSFA’s on-going goal to provide easy access to enjoyable and competitive fishing areas through deployment of FADs. “Each year we have funded and deployed FADs to support the local and sport fishing communities. The benefit to the environment will be to draw fishermen away from the reefs to the FADs. In addition, having a specific location to go to will save time and precious fuel,” says Mr. Ubedei. “The FAD was dropped at a depth of approximately 5000 meters and was used in this first effort in 2020. Affixed to the rope were 6 concrete anchors. The location of the FAD is about 12 miles off the light house at 7° 05.767’ North/134° 36.446’ East” said Mr. Ubedei.
Captain Marlis of NECO Marine was also able to reset another FAD in the network, just outside of Chudel, by setting a new skirt (what attracts bait fish) and noting that the FAD had moved off its deployment site by about 1 mile. Separately, Captain Melvin last fished the Ngerdewais FAD over the weekend and has not been able to locate it since. “This is the nature of FADs – sometimes currents carry them off and we rely on our fisherman to keep tabs and maintain them. That’s why our network of FADs work” said Mr. Ubedei.
The PSFA board felt strongly that during this trying time fisherman needed another off-shore FAD to access. The PSFA appreciates and thanks the NECO Group of Companies, Captain Marlis, Gordon, Logan and Stomu for their time, labor, materials and other resources and Surangel Construction, Captain Milan for the use of SSC Ksau barge that made this deployment a reality for local fisherman and the community at large.
The Palau Sport Fishing Association For 30 years has been the official organization for sport fishing in the Republic of Palau. Each year PSFA organizes the largest sport fishing event on Palau, featuring the Etpison Cup, to promote game fishing, the growth in the sector through the Junior Angler program and community engagement through its network of off shore Fish Aggregation Devices. In partnerships with corporations such as Palau Pacific Resort, IP&E, Shimbros, NECO Yamaha and Bank of Hawaii along with the local community PSFA has been able to realize increasing numbers of participants in sport fishing competition and spectatorship. As the official organization for sport fishing in Palau, PSFA is associated with tradition, integrity and, most importantly responsibility as stewards of Palau’s fishery. PSFA is also a member of the International Game Fishing Association.