Summary Report: Fishers’ Focus Group Surveys: Have Fish Aggregating Devices Benefited Local Community Fishers
Wildlife Conservation Society, Papua New Guinea
In 2018, subsurface nearshore fish aggregating devices (FADs) were deployed within the customary waters (<200 m deep) of 11 locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) in Kavieng District, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). The main objectives of FAD deployment were to help provide fishing alternatives to 13 coastal communities accessing sensitive habitats within the LMMAs and relieve fishing pressure on vulnerable populations of reef fish. A FAD consists of a series of ropes and floats that are anchored to the seafloor. The upper-most floats lie on or close to the sea surface; attached to the surface ropes are a series of streamers that are bathed in daily sunlight. Algae grow on the streamers, which in turn attracts other marine life, including baitfish (Figure 1). Pelagic fish species, such as tuna, are attracted to the smaller baitfish. The concentration of tuna around the FAD can provide fishers with a relatively reliable source of small pelagic fish (Figure 2). FADs are often viewed as a sustainable fisheries option for small-scale fisheries in tropical coastal regions because they can help transfer fishing effort from vulnerable coral reef fisheries to more resilient open water fish species.
To gauge whether the FADs have benefited community members in each of the 13 communities that have LMMAs, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), with support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), conducted fishers’ focus group interviews in each community to understand how the community residents use their FAD, and whether the FADs have had a positive impact on community fishing trends. This report outlines the main outcomes from all of the focus groups that took place in the communities, and provides some recommendations to help communities gain further benefits from the use of the FADs in their customary waters.
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WCS (2020). Summary Report: Fishers’ Focus Group Surveys: Have Fish Aggregating Devices Benefited Local Community Fishers? Goroka, Papua New Guinea: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Wildlife Conservation Society, Papua New Guinea.