Private Fishing Buoys
Fish Caught at FAD buoys in Hawaii
Information on FAD Devices
Fish aggregating buoys are man-made floating objects (flotsam) placed (anchored or free floating) in the ocean to attract and concentrate certain pelagic fishes. Fish buoys have been used in the Philippines, Japan Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and in other areas of the world. Filipino fishers use large bamboo rafts called "payaos" in their tuna purse seine fishery. As much as 200 metric tons of tuna have been reportedly caught in a single purse seine set around payaos. Japanese fishers use bamboo fish buoys called "tsuke"; elsewhere, fishers use materials such as palm and coconut fronds, cork slabs to fabricate their buoys.
Why do fish buoys aggregate fish? Scientists have offered a number of' hypotheses on this subject. Larger fishes may be attracted to food such as smaller forage fish and plankton gathered around the buoy. Shelter, reproductive spawning substrate, a "station" where fishes can have parasites removed by "cleaner fishes" are' all plausible explanations for the enormous fish attracting power of the buoy. It may simply be serving as a point of reference in the open ocean environment.
Private FAD buoys are popular with commercial fishermen world wide. It benefits the fisherman (buoy owner) by aggregating tuna, mahi, marlin, ono etc. to their private FAD which means there will not only be more then enough fish for consumption but for commercial reasons (wholesale). Because no other fisherman will be aware of the private buoy and the location of the private FAD, the buoy owner don't have to worry about any competition.
Deploying a private buoy is not cheap. Some say it ranges from $5,000-$12,000 per buoy setup. Average depth buoys are being placed are from 1,000-3,000 fathoms (6 feet in 1 fathom) so that is about 1 mile of rope that they need to purchase not including the chain and the buoy. Because of this reason the fishermen will say nothing to any one about it or its location. However the ocean is not like real estate where one will be trespassing if they enter onto your property. Everybody (fishermen) has all right to fish next to any floating object floating in the ocean including any private buoys that is found so this is something that the fisherman will consider. To avoid another fisherman finding it, the private buoy owner will place it in an extreme area or/and further out from land which can range from 40-60 miles.
Regardless of the cost financially it is worth it to the commercial fisherman, for one trip to the buoy can regain the cost. Some fishermen with these buoy makes as much as $100,000.00 a year althought it depends on other factors.