Six fish attracting devices (FADs), made with tractor-tire buoys and subsurface attractors, were placed off the northeast coast of Puerto Rico in June 1986 and monitored through December 1986. Three of the units were deployed in 91 m depth, approximately 10 km offshore, and three were
placed in 550 m depth, 7 km further offshore, Evaluation of the effectiveness of the FADs was made primarily by quantitative fishing, SCUBA divers examined structural integrity and made qualitative observations on biota. FADs enhanced trolling success. The mean rate of catch and strikes·rod-h−1
was 0.5 near FADs, compared with 0.01 in the control area, and 0.16 and 0.04 in the shelf and offshore transition zones, respectively. There was no significant difference between trolling catch rates: (a) of inshore vs. offshore FADs; (b) among FADs with different (or no) attractors; (c) of
FADs due to their relative position in the array. Dolphin (Coryphaena hippurus) was the fish most frequently caught by trolling. Several wahoo (Acanthocybium solanderi), barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda), yellowfin (Thunnus albacares), and blackfin (Thunnus atlanticus)
tuna and a few other species were also caught. The night catch near inshore FADs of one commercial boat out of Fajardo frequently was more than 100 kg·trip−1 during summer and early fall. However, no difference was found between FAD and control catches during eight
night study trips in late fall. Five of seven FADs (including a replacement) were lost during the study, probably due to fish bite. Although FADs can have a positive effect on recreational and commercial fisheries in Puerto Rico, they are unlikely to dramatically increase the harvest.
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