FADs and Artificial Reefs

​​​​​​Fish aggregating devices

Fish aggregating devices (FADs) are structures placed in the sea to aggregate some species of pelagic fish. These include tunas, sharks, marlin, mahi mahi and yellowtail kingfish. Originally developed for commercial fishing, FADs have become increasingly used around Australia to provide recreational fishing opportunities.

Understanding why FADs work has attracted a lot of scientific interest. The traditional view is that FADs provide structure for small organisms to colonise which then attracts small fish – and in turn, larger fish. Research also suggests that migrating fish use FADs as a resting place or a geographical reference point. The reasons why particular fish are attracted to FADs differs between species.

In February, the Tasmanian Government deployed three FADs off the east coast – two in Coles Bay and one near Binalong Bay.  They were deployed on a trial basis and retrieved at the end of April to avoid interactions with migrating whales. ​

Depending on how successful they are at providing fishing opportunities in Tasmania, they may be deployed at more locations in the coming years.


FADs now deployed on East Coast

In 2021, five FADs were deployed off the East Coast at Coles Bay (X2), Binalong Bay, Pirates Bay and Wineglass Bay. They were retrieved in April 2022 to avoid interactions with whales during their annual migration and will be re-deployed in December 2022.​See the table and map below for location details. ​​

​FAD Location 
​Degree, Minutes, Seconds
​Degree, Decimal Minutes
​St Helens
​Great Oyster Bay 1
Great Oyster Bay 2
​Tasman (Foxy's Reef)

FAD Deployment Map - December 2021

Survey results

An online survey was conducted in May 2021 to understand recreational fishing around the FADs during the trial period.  It was also open to people who hadn’t fished the FADs to gain information about how Tasmanian fishers view FADs in general.

Read the results:

FAD Survey Report 2021

Artificial reefs

Artificial reef unit

Artificial reef units

Two artificial reefs, consisting of pre-cast concrete modules will be deployed in Tasmanian waters in August or September 2022 –  one off Turners Beach near Ulverstone, the other in Great Bay in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. The projects are the result of promises by the Tasmanian Government in 2018 to provide exciting new recreational fishing opportunities.

The reefs, which have received environmental approvals, will provide recreational fishing opportunities in areas where little natural reef exists.

It is expected that snapper will be a key species attracted to both reefs though it may take a few years before they are fully colonised by fish and invertebrates.

The impacts of both reefs will be closely monitored, particularly in the first five years.


    Recreational Fishing Enquiries
    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St
    Hobart TAS 7000
    Phone: 03 6165 3233, 1300 720 647
    Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au


    Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

    0427 655 557

    What to report? arrow button

    Contact us

    Recreational Fishing

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    Hobart TAS 7000

    Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

    Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Commercial Fisheries

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

    Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Commercial Fisheries Licensing

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

    Email: fishing.licensing@nre.tas.gov.au