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Fish Magnet Boom Creates Headaches in Indonesia’s War on Overfishing

Fish Magnet Boom Creates Headaches in Indonesia’s War on Overfishing

Newsroom

The use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) in Indonesian waters is widespread. This article describes their extent and the implications for their management.

A fish aggregating device floats in Indonesian waters. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.)

A fish aggregating device floats in Indonesian waters.
(Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.)

Unfortunately, the article mixes the offshore fisheries—in which large-scale fishing takes place for tuna that gather in the vicinity of floating FADs—with inshore fisheries based on anchored FADs used by artisanal (nonmotorized) and small-scale (motorized) fishers to attract mostly small pelagic fish.

The Coral Triangle Initiative supports the construction and deployment of FADs for artisanal and to a lesser extent small-scale commercial fishers. Artisanal fishers are currently fishing for reef fish and the initiative encourages fishers, where reefs are being overfished, to fish just beyond the coral reef to catch small pelagic fish around FADs.

However, as the article reminds us, unrestrained deployment of FADs can lead to overfishing just as with excessive use of any other form of fishing. How many FADs can an area support before being overfished? This is a question that is implied in the article and its answer will need surveys of fish stocks in a given area before and after FAD deployment.

The archipelago country’s fisheries have been pushed to the brink of collapse. Can President Joko Widodo’s administration reverse the trend — while preserving the livelihoods of communities that depend on the sea?

(Read the full article.)

Avatar of Coral Triangle Written by Coral Triangle

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