Tender vessels act as fish attractors
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.
Anthony Italiano with his first sailfish caught near the rig tender vessels.