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FAD assembly in Grenada FAD assembly in Grenada CRFM


CFRM states explore Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) as cost-cutting emergent technology

Belize City, Belize, Thursday, December 5, 2013—For several years, the Caribbean region has been exploring the use of an emergent technology for increasing catch of deep sea fishes such as tunas at a much lower cost. This technology, dubbed Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), has already been deployed with limited use in some Caribbean countries, and fisheries authorities are now looking at prospects of their wider use in the region, but conservation and proper management are at the heart of any prospect of success.

In order for the Caribbean to derive tangible benefits from the use of FAD, the devices must be properly managed and regulated. The harm that can be done by the unplanned use of the device, and by poor management and regulation, could result in major losses of not just fishery investments—but also of the fishery resources upon which the region depends for employment, food security and nutrition.

The CRFM-JICA CARIFICO / WECAFC-IFREMER MAGDELESA Workshop on FAD Fishery Management, to be held next week, will provide a forum for participating countries and agencies to review and share research results and best practices in the construction, use and management of FADs as tools for sustainable development, management and conservation of large pelagic resources in the Caribbean.

The workshop will be held from Monday, December 9 to Wednesday, December 11, 2013, at the Methodist Church Hall, in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AGENDA)

At the event, the participating countries and institutions will provide status reports on FAD fisheries, the target fish resources and their management. Fish often caught with FAD include the blue marlin (Makaira nigricans), the yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and the blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus).

National Fisheries Authorities from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago will be represented.

Additionally, senior representatives from key regional and international fisheries related organizations and initiatives involved in FAD fisheries management activities such as Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Caribbean Network of Fisheries Organization (CNFO), Japan International Cooperation Agency, The French Institute for Ocean Research (IFREMER), UN-Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/WECAFC; UWI, and University of Florida, will attend the Workshop.

Future work plans and action plans for the countries directly involved in the implementation of field activities under the CARIFICO Project will be discussed at the upcoming meeting.

Finally, research findings and recommendations from the French-funded (IFREMER) MAGDELESA project will be presented and recommendations made to FAO-WECAFC and CRFM on the further use and management of FAD in the Caribbean. The workshop will feature presentations from CRFM member countries; key experts representing CRFM, IFREMER, JICA, and FAO/WECAFC. In 2011 and 2012 the MAGDELESA project successfully deployed FADs in Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts, and St. Vincent. (See links to projects on the Downloadable Resources page, at the end of this release.)

In March 2013, the CRFM and JICA jointly organized the FAD Fishery Management Workshop as a follow-up to the CRFM-JICA Master Plan FAD pilot activities, at which best practices in the construction, use and management of FADs were discussed.
Subsequently, the Caribbean Fisheries Co-management Project (CARIFICO)—a joint collaboration between the CRFM member countries and JICA—was initiated on May 1, 2013 and it will run for approximately 5 years.

More below…



In Antigua and Barbuda, new fisheries regulations have been enacted in 2013 and this makes provisions for the deployment of FAD’s with permission from the Chief Fisheries Officer. The registration and licensing of vessels and fishers as well as the display of identification marks and numbers on vessels are all tied to the conditions for FAD fishing.

Dominica reported that landings of yellowfin tuna, Atlantic blue marlin, skipjack and blackfin tuna, both on the East (Windward) and West (Leeward) coast of the island increased, as a result of FAD fishing.

Grenada has reported that currently there is only one FAD deployed that is active. It is part of the MAGDELESA FAD Project from IFREMER. The Fisheries Division is the designated management entity. There are 28 fishing vessels executing fishing operations off the said FAD.

In St. Kitts and Nevis, over the past 5 years the concept of FADs was resuscitated through a series of workshops that were held island wide. 18 privately owned FADs were constructed and deployed in the waters of the Federation. FADs were seen as measures to; reduce fishing pressure on reef fishery, lure new entrants to the sector, enhance food security and sports fishing.

In Nevis, the success of one fisher who continued FAD fishing since then (1999 - 2008) is recorded as having landed 61,160 lbs of pelagic species with dolphin-fish (mahi mahi) making up over 70% of the catch.

FADs are currently being constructed and deployed by fishers in St Lucia, in collaboration with the Fisheries Division. FADs are deployed on both the east and west coast of the island.

On 15 March 2012, two FADs were deployed on the western coast of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The deployment of these FADs are part of a project known as the MAGDELESA project and was done in collaboration with IFREMER and the Fisheries Division. One FAD was deployed 3 miles offshore on the western coast of St. Vincent and the other 5 miles on the western coast of Bequia. They are single head buoy FADs with a GPS indicator that gives real time information on the floatation device’s present position.

Reference: CRFM, 2013. Report of the CRFM / JICA Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD) Management Workshop for OECS Countries, 13 March 2013, Roseau, Dominica. CRFM Technical & Advisory Document, No. 2013 / 5. 61p.


In response to the request from the CRFM member countries, the Government of Japan through JICA implemented a technical cooperation project on “Formulation of Master Plan on Sustainable Use of Fisheries Resources for Coastal Community Development in the Caribbean” from 2009 to 2012.

Baseline surveys were conducted in 13 target countries from May to December 2009 to understand the current situation and issues that the fisheries sector faces. Based on the analysis of the data and information collected during the baseline surveys, a preliminary master plan was produced and potential pilot projects were identified in February 2010.  Fishing Aggregating Device (FAD) Pilot projects were implemented in Dominica and St. Lucia during 2010/2011, aquaculture Pilot activities in Jamaica and Belize, and Fishery Statistical pilot projects were implemented in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana.

The FAD Pilot Project implemented during the development of the Master Plan confirmed that diversification of coastal fishery using FADs has great potential and can be used as a tool to involve fishers and their organizations in the sustainable use of large pelagic fishery resources. However, unregulated and excessive number of FADs may cause overexploitation of large pelagic fishes which could reduce the economic advantage of having such devices.

Since fisheries policy and resource management plans and budget structures are not properly developed and in place at the national level and no joint regional management systems are in place for the coastal pelagic and other shared resources, there is some concern that these resources could become overexploited. To address this issue, a multinational master plan for fisheries resource management and development is needed.

The Final Report of the Master Plan proposed (1) to establish practical co-management models for sustainable use and management of the fisheries resources, (2) to promote participatory resource management and development toward co-management, and (3) to formulate and strengthen the regional network by sharing the local expertise and lessons learned in each country.





FAD Deployment in the Caribbean:

St. Vincent:


St. Kitts/Nevis:




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