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

Artificial reef unit

Artificial reef units

An artificial reef, consisting of pre-cast concrete modules will be deployed off Turners Beach near Ulverstone early in May (this was previously expected to happen in April). The reef, which has received environmental approvals, will provide recreational fishing opportunities in an area where little natural reef exists.

It is expected that snapper will be a key species attracted to the reef though it may take a few years before it is fully colonised by fish and invertebrates.
The Turners Beach deployment is one of two artificial reefs promised by the Tasmanian Government in 2018 to provide exciting new recreational fishing opportunities. The second reef – to be deployed in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel early in the second half of 2022 – is currently being assessed.

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