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#443443 - 07/27/12 09:02 PM Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Captain Shark’s worked closely with the San Pedro Game Fish Association on June 29th to install a fish aggregating device (FAD). The FAD was placed in the waters approximately two miles offshore from El Pescador Resort on Ambergris Caye and anchored at a depth of about 2,400 feet. The main reason for placing the FAD is to show tour guides and business of the potential behind FADs so that local fishermen and tourists on local fishing tours can fish closer to the island.

A FAD is a floating device tethered by rope with buoys and anchored to the water bed with a drum of cement to keep everything in place avoiding it from drifting. FADs are known to attract fish, especially tuna and marlin. However other curious marine life such as sharks, are also attracted to the floating device. The FAD that was installed was anchored at a depth of about 2,400 feet with the use of 1 1/15 inch rope. Ten buoys were also place on it also to attract other fish. The square shaping floating device was built at Captain Shark’s boatyard and was constructed from aluminum, fiberglass and plywood all anchored to a drum of cement at the seabed. On top of the FAD is a solar led light that flashes every second at night to avoid vessels from running over it. The FAD was installed at a cost of about $16,000, which was paid by Captain Shark’s.

“I spoke to a local fisherman and he told me that he has been fishing around the FAD twice and noticed more tuna, not directly underneath the FAD but just about 200 to300 feet away. That is exactly how the FAD is meant to work,” said Dennis Ritchie of Captain Shark’s. “[The fisherman] also mentioned that there are normally five boats fishing around the FAD as well. This tells us that the FAD is working and we’re very proud and happy about it. We also know that someone caught a marlin near the FAD just a week ago.”

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

#443585 - 07/30/12 03:27 PM Re: Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,520
Bear Offline
Bear  Offline
What a great project, totally cool! MORE MORE!!

Captain Shark is willing to assist in placing more FADs around but because it is costly, the San Pedro Game Fish Association is encouraging other businesses to join and come up with funds to install more FADs. Anyone wishing to sponsor or make contributions to the San Pedro Game Fish Association to install more FADs can do so by contacting Ian or Dennis Ritchie at Captain Shark’s.

#443620 - 07/31/12 12:52 AM Re: Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris [Re: Bear]  
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JdeVerteuil Offline
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We use these around Destin, Florida (Luckiest Fishng village in the World), we generally install them below the surface by 10-30ft. We do this for two reasons; first is so they are not hit by a vessel and secondly so no one can find it. Of course if you run over it, it will show on your fish finder. It is more difficult to find at that depth as the bait fish and predator are active below surface and not attracting birds.
We of course are not placing them at the depth that BZ is and doing it from that depth would make the subsurface impossible. I think your catch rate will increase as indicated in another article about the FAD in BZ. I can not wait to get back there and fish off these, should make for some great fun.

Have you guys started to drop artificial structure between the reef and turneffe? Besides that Cuban ship that sunk a while back. We have used this in abundance here and have found an huge increase in the amount of bait fish which of course leads to more and bigger game fish.

John deVerteuil
#443670 - 07/31/12 05:04 PM Re: Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2011
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Bear Offline
Bear  Offline
I just dont think the budget or the interest at the GOB level is there John. Honestly I think this kind of smaller budget stuff (relatively speaking) anchored in close has the potential to yield a pretty good bang for the buck. I wonder if there is some guideline as to how many one should set in a given area to maximize effectiveness w/o becoming a nusiance to shipping.

The ones I saw installed in Aitutaki had big wads of long fake shammy stuff along the upper portions of the anchor rope; looked like a bull kelp forest by the time they were done. Ive seen stuff like resin coated sheets of plywood, lengths of rope tied off the main line, everything and anything to provide "structure". Thanks again Dennis @ Cpt Sharks for the outlay and time spent.

#443684 - 08/01/12 02:41 AM Re: Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 91
JdeVerteuil Offline
JdeVerteuil  Offline
We use the submerged plywood trick with a good success for Mahi, Wahoo, Mackeral, and some Sails. We use a technique that we refer to as the chicken coop that will attract a lot of snapper. It is a metal pyramid frame with metal chicken wire attached to it. The holes can vary in size to allow the bait fish to enter but keep the predator fish out. We use a concrete base to anchor.
There are a lot of good inexpensive tricks to build your artificial structure. You probably need to get the Association to start a fund, if not already, just to construct and deploy the reefs.
Belize has a REAL reef unlike Destin, but with the amount of articial structure we have submerged we have built a great sport fishing economy.
Another thing we do is that when we submerge a structure we do not release the coordinates for a year to two. This allows the fish to populate and grow in size.
I am excited that BZ is building a good artificial reef as that will reduce the fishing on the reef and reduce the contact on such a world class beauty that you have there.

Last edited by JdeVerteuil; 08/01/12 02:43 AM.

John deVerteuil
#443728 - 08/01/12 05:32 PM Re: Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris [Re: JdeVerteuil]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,520
Bear Offline
Bear  Offline

byWarren and I had some discussion about the use of some palmetto's in a triangle/pyramid shape that he had been involved in setting a number of years ago. Apprently they last pretty well. They are set sparingly and more in the surrounding smaller cayes and lagoons if I recall correctly. Its unlikely that a full blown artifical reef is going to be created nor is it likely people are going to want a proliferation of "structures" inside the reef or just outside the reef. The natural beauty of that outer area of the reef where divers are used to seeing prisitne vistas (relatively speaking) has precedent. I think some of the new reserves that have been created will allow for some migration out of those areas into adjoing areas to some degree. The offshore FAD's stuff is definitely exciting!

Not sure what the strictures are about setting stuff up inside the reef, I'm sure some form of approval would be required from the natural reosurces folks and BPA. I'm no local so with my luck I'd get busted for doing it ( laugh mental image: I'm getting written up while in the background a few hundred yards off a few locals are throwing a refrigerator or two over the side!!)

I think the offshore FAD's are a great idea. Adding structure objects, like plywood squares, rope masses, etc along the length of the rope is typical and effective. Not sure if there is any on the one that was recently set offshore.

#443737 - 08/01/12 07:09 PM Re: Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 391
Nobody You Know Offline
Nobody You Know  Offline
I have to admit to originally reading this as Fish AGGRAVATING Device.DOH...

#443747 - 08/02/12 12:30 AM Re: Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris [Re: Nobody You Know]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 91
JdeVerteuil Offline
JdeVerteuil  Offline
I did not even think about inside the reef, good idea. I agree that BZ should not place these devices near the real reef or where divers are enjoying the real natural beauty. I would look more at the open water areas that lack structure, such as between the reef and Turneffe and Half Moon. There are a lot of pelagics passing thru these areas but not really stopping for a quick bite.
BZ is well known for flat fishing but lacks the blue water fishing that we see elsewhere. BZ could really benefit from a good program to help establsih a more diverse fishing economy. That and fish are tasty.
Like you I do not live there, but plan to retire there. We can build our own structure and never tell anyone the location of our honey hole. wink
I would like to add to your mental image: BPA assisted the locals with hauling the refrigerators then ticketed you.

John deVerteuil
#443770 - 08/02/12 08:11 AM Re: Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris [Re: JdeVerteuil]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,520
Bear Offline
Bear  Offline
Originally Posted by JdeVerteuil
I would like to add to your mental image: BPA assisted the locals with hauling the refrigerators then ticketed you.

...and of course you're laughing your ass off from 50 yards away after having dropped the dime on me just to get on that hot spot! Nice guy! laugh

The open waters between AC and Turneffe seem to be kind of an odd area. Not really on any main currents that would carry a major migration or food sources like the Gulf Stream, but not devoid of these either. When you talk to the cruiser skippers like Hillyboo they want to run outside to Turneffe to take adavantage of those dropoff and edge areas associated with more of the Carribean currents. It would be interesting to get a verbal history from some of the elders as to what these waters held historically. We know there are seasons for dorado, whaoo, some tuna species and billfish, but what else was there? what kind of quantities?

I agree. Anyting that can be done to "hold" during the various seasons is bound to be a plus. Of course they will not only attract fish but the local fisherman as well. I have little doubt as to the success of the FADs; its simply a matter of having enough of these around to spread the fishing pressure.

#443820 - 08/03/12 12:52 AM Re: Fish Aggregating Device placed offshore Ambergris [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 91
JdeVerteuil Offline
JdeVerteuil  Offline
I agree with everything except that I dimed you out... ok I did, but hey fishing is a competition. There is some serious bragging rights invovled here.

Yeah the more the better. Also BZ needs to assist in growing the fish in size as well.

I will be down there in December and doing some flats fishing, not really the season but there are a lot of local fish that will be a good time. Last time there, 6 mths, I caught a mess of Mackeral and some tuna outside the reef at St. George. The best thing was taking the catch to Ricks at the Municipal Airport in BZ City and trading them for some good fresh food and a few drinks. Ricks has changed to the Admirals Club so not sure if I can still do that.

As far as the additional structure, yeah it is going to cost some cash. Biggest cost I have seen is the installation.

John deVerteuil

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