Coastal Fisheries Programme

Number 136 (September-December 2011)

Produced by the Information Unit, Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems, SPC, B.P. D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia. Fax: (687) 263818.

Produced with financial assistance from France, Australia and New Zealand


Fish aggregating devices (FADs) are a promising tool for coastal fishers, or could mean destruction of tuna stocks, depending on who you are speaking with. Both perceptions may be right, but they relate to two very different types of FADs: artisanal (small-scale) and industrial.

Artisanal FADs are anchored close to shore to help local fishers gain access to oceanic resources such as tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo and rainbow runner. In doing so, they provide another source of food for families and help fishers move away from declining reef resources.

Industrial FADs are drifting rafts set by purse-seine vessels to concentrate schools of skipjack and mixed tuna species, and to make their operations commercially viable. But, this also means huge catches of unwanted species such as silky sharks and juvenile bigeye tuna, which are already overexploited (see article "2010 overview and status of WCPO tuna stocks"). Artisanal fishers, who use hooks and lines around nearshore FADs, are able to limit their catch to targeted species.

The FAD issue continues to be of interest to many people, and in fact, attracted 150 participants to a conference in Tahiti in November 2011. In the second feature article, a wide panel of experts report on their discussions, their findings, and list research and management needs in this area.

In one of the other feature articles (p. 27), Mark Skinner and his colleagues report on their study of ciguatera poisoning occurrences in the Pacific Islands region. You will probably be as surprised as I was to learn that up to half a million people may have been affected by ciguatera over the last 35 years. The authors suggest that this figure should drive decision-makers to pay much more attention to this issue.

Aymeric Desurmont

Fisheries Information Officer


Triggerfish aggregation under a drifting FAD

Triggerfish aggregation under a drifting FAD 

Image: Marc Taquet, FADIO/Ifremer-IRD

In this issue


  • 2010 overview and status of WCPO tuna stocks (pdf: )

  • The effects of ENSO on South Pacific albacore catches (pdf: )

  • When economy meets with tuna (pdf: )

  • Improving the management of deepwater snapper
    resources in Pacific Island countries (pdf: )

  • Sustainable development and strategic planning
    for New Caledonia’s aquarium fishery (pdf: )

  • Pacific fisheries: Winners and losers identified
    in new climate change book (pdf: )

  • Bagan fishing in Majuro, Marshall Islands (pdf: )


  • Eat more anchovies (pdf: )

  • The 2011 harvest of trochus in Aitutaki, Cook Islands (pdf: )

  • DEVFISH II project implementation update (pdf: )

  • FFA releases major global tuna industry status report (pdf: )

  • NFMRA withdraws invitation to Spanish purse-seiners
    to fish in Nauru (pdf: )
  • Implementing the full vessel day scheme (pdf: )
  • Rebuilding fisheries: There’s a smartphone application
    for that (pdf: )


  • Ciguatera fish poisoning in the Pacific (1998– 2008)
    by M. Skinner et al. (pdf: )

  • Artisanal and industrial FADs: A question of scale
    by M. Taquet et al. (pdf: )

  • Investment profile for anchored nearshore FAD
    by M. Sharp (pdf: )

Download the complete publication:

Fisheries Newsletter #136 (pdf: )


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