Volume 72

The Continental United States First Fish Aggregating Device Network: Opportunities for Tourism and Pelagic Fisheries Monitoring

Fogg, A.
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 351

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


Human fishing behavior has included construction and use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) to attract fish in the open ocean for millennia. The pelagic environment is a relatively featureless region of water with little or no structure. Floating material will typically attract fish, and the longer that material remains, the more colonists (and prey items) will inhabit the floating material and the water column immediately adjacent to the structure. FADs are present around many Caribbean islands, however, very few FADs occur in American waters and none have been deployed (legally) around the continental USA, specifically in the Gulf of Mexico. The first FAD network consisting of eight buoys will be deployed in the northern Gulf of Mexico in 200 – 600 m of water and 95 – 130 km from shore. The purpose is to create habitat for pelagic game fishes as well as expand and enhance recreational and sport fishing opportunities across the region. The FAD network is estimated to provide an economic impact of $56million to not only the fishing industry in the region but to regional tourism and will also provide a unique platform for pelagic research. Specifically, collaborations with universities, non-profits, and government agencies will result in utilizing the FAD network as a platform to conduct research in a relatively inaccessible environment. Passive monitoring equipment will be used to monitor oceanographic and biological conditions and to detect and track movements of specific species of interest. The purpose of this presentation is to quantify the anticipated tourism benefit and proposed monitoring methodologies.

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