Effects of Fish Aggregating Device Design and Location on Fishing Success in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Fish aggregating devices (FADs) of various designs were deployed around the U.S. Virgin Islands to test their relative effectiveness in concentrating pelagic fishes and improving recreational and commercial fishing. Subsurface FADs were deployed along the shelf edge and inshore off St. Thomas. Off St. Croix, surface and subsurface FADs were placed along the shelf edge. Fishing success was evaluated by experimental trolling around FAD and control locations. Over 170 trolling trips comprising 447 fishing h were conducted between 1986 and 1990. Catch per boat hour ranged from 0.04 to 1.054 on the FADs and 0.07 to 0.305 on the controls. Trolling around FADs yielded a significantly greater number of fish and strikes than control areas except for the St. Croix subsurface FADs. Species diversity of catch also was significantly greater on the FADs compared to controls except for the St. Croix subsurface units. No significant differences in fishing success were found between the St. Thomas subsurface FADs and the St. Croix surface FADs. The St. Thomas subsurface FADs attracted more coastal pelagic species such as barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda), jacks (Carangidae) and king mackerel (Scomberomorous cavalla), while the St. Croix surface FADs attracted more oceanic pelagics such as tunas (Scombridae) and dolphin (Coryphaena hippurus). The evaluation of various FAD designs and locations can help in the decision of future FAD deployment to meet specific management needs.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1994-09-01
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