Six North Coast fish aggregating devices (FADs) will be removed for winter maintenance and returned to the water for the start of the summer fishing season in October, Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said.

Minister Macdonald said the devices are used to attract fish and enhance recreational fishing in NSW by creating an alternative to traditional fishing grounds.

“These devices will be removed from Byron Bay, Ballina, Evans Head, Wooli, Coffs Harbour and South West Rocks,” he said.

“They work best when the seawater temperature is greater than 20ºC, so they are serviced during the winter months to ensure longevity.

“The FADs are deployed each year between October and June on the North Coast from Byron Bay to South West Rocks.

“We have a total of 21 of these devices along the State’s coastline and this program is part of the Iemma Government’s commitment to improving recreational fishing in NSW.”

Minister Macdonald said FADs are yellow, spherical buoys with a flashing beacon for safe navigation.

“They attract surface-dwelling fish such as mahi-mahi, or dolphin fish, from up to 300 metres away,” he said.

“Since the first device was installed in 2002 they have proved extremely popular with anglers.

“Monitoring by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has shown that FADs are an effective recreational enhancement tool, where recreational fishers can access fast-growing fish species like mahi-mahi and wahoo.

“DPI officers are investigating new locations for additional FADs for the start of summer fishing to service coastal regions where FADs are currently not located.

“The FAD program is funded through the NSW Recreational Fishing Saltwater Trust.

“Recreational fishing fees provided $163,000 funding for the 2007-08 FAD program.”

For more information on FADs or the Recreational Fishing Trusts visit http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au