ISSF Guide For Non-Entangling FADs

Date added November 13, 2015
Downloaded 320 times
Category Non-Entangling FADs
Tags Bycatch, FADs


Since ISSF first published its Guide for Non-entangling FADs (fish aggregating devices) in 2012, several tuna fishing fleets have experimented with and adopted the use of the new FAD designs described therein in an effort to reduce shark and/or turtle entanglement. In addition, new research studies on FAD entanglement have been published and tuna regional fisheries management organizations (tRFMOs) have passed recommendations regarding non-entangling FADs.

Considering these developments, and based on the findings of a recent workshop organized by ISSF, ISSF is publishing an updated Guide for Non-entangling FADs.

A significant update to ISSF guidance on non-entangling FAD design concerns mesh size in nets and net use in general. Some scientists and fishers previously assumed that using small mesh netting or tying up netting into bundles would potentially eliminate entanglements. Observing these designs in use in fishing operations, however, revealed that while entanglements were less frequent, they were not eliminated. Turtles can easily become entangled in any netting covering the bamboo rafts. Bundles of netting tied up and suspended under a FAD can unravel, and small mesh can tear, creating larger holes in which sharks or turtles have been observed to become entangled. Because our goal is to eliminate the risk of entanglement altogether and any unnecessary mortality, it is clear that previous designs referring to smaller mesh netting are only partial solutions.

Going forward, only FADs constructed with no netting will be considered “non-entangling” with minimal risk of entanglement. Relatively inexpensive and readily available alternatives –ropes suspending into the water and shade cloth or canvas materials used to cover rafts – are reported to work equally well by fleets that have tested these alternative materials. The use of biodegradable materials in construction of FADs to reduce unnecessary pollution in the sea is also endorsed.

In summary, this document presents updated recommendations on FAD designs and materials to consider using for their construction, so as to minimize unwanted by-catch and pollution of the oceans caused by deployments of FADs worldwide in today’s purse seine tuna fisheries.