Ten­der ves­sels act as fish at­trac­tors

Broome Advertiser - - Sport - Ross Ital­iano Ross Ital­iano is an avid recre­ational fisher, hav­ing fished ex­ten­sively across WA and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

While not ev­ery­one ap­pears to be happy with the oil rig ten­der ves­sels ob­struct­ing an oth­er­wise per­fect sun­set shot, fish­ers in town are reap­ing the ben­e­fits.

The ves­sels which have been sit­ting offshore from Ca­ble Beach for nearly two months seem to be act­ing much like a fish at­trac­tion de­vice, also known as a FAD.

The con­stant pres­ence of the ten­der ves­sels has no-doubt pro­vided structure, shel­ter and re­prieve from tidal move­ments for smaller fish, sub­se­quently at­tract­ing larger fish higher up the food chain. Recre­ational fish­ers have been hav­ing plenty of fun catch­ing large Span­ish mack­erel and even the oc­ca­sional sail­fish from around the base of these ves­sels — close enough to have a con­ver­sa­tion with the crew on board.

The abun­dance of ma­rine life which has con­gre­gated around the ten­der ves­sels in such a short pe­riod of time is quite amaz­ing.

It’s worth pos­ing the ques­tion, could Broome ben­e­fit from a more per­ma­nent, pur­pose-built FAD, in a sim­i­lar area?

Plac­ing a nearshore FAD in the wa­ters off Broome would likely cre­ate im­proved fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for smaller ves­sels within close prox­im­ity to boat ramps and beach launch­ing lo­ca­tions.

No longer would it be just the 6m-plus ves­sels that have the op­por­tu­nity to catch a mack­erel or sail­fish, but also fam­ily-sized tin­nies.

Sea­sonal FADs have been in­stalled over sum­mer on an an­nual ba­sis for decades by the Perth Game Fish­ing Club, bring­ing mahi mahi and mar­lin within reach of Perth an­glers.

A com­pa­ra­ble FAD in­stal­la­tion pro­gram could be tri­alled in Broome, with de­ploy­ment oc­cur­ring early April and re­trieval late Septem­ber to avoid cy­clone sea­son and co­in­cide with peak sail­fish sea­son.

It’s cer­tainly a con­cept worth con­sid­er­ing for the fu­ture. In the mean­time, get out and en­joy the close-range mack­erel and sail­fish ac­tion.

Picture: Ross Ital­iano

An­thony Ital­iano with his first sail­fish caught near the rig ten­der ves­sels.

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