FADs and Artificial Reefs

​​​​​​Fish aggregating devices

Fish aggregating device

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 installed on East Coast

Five FADs have now been deployed on the East Coast at Coles Bay (X2), Binalong Bay, Pirates Bay and Wineglass Bay. See the table and map below for their 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.  The survey was also open to people who hadn’t fished around the FADs to gain information about how Tasmanian fishers view FADs in general.

Read the results:

FAD Survey Report 2021

Artificial reefs

In 2018, the Government committed funds to deploy two artificial reefs in Tasmanian waters for recreational fishing enhancement – one at Great Bay in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and one off Turners Beach near Ulverstone. These locations were identified in a feasibility study which involved considerable public consultation.

It is expected that approvals to deploy both reefs will be given by the end of this year and deployments will commence early next year.


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