FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
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Fishing devices to boost nearshore fishing deployed in Samoa

FAD deployment team attaching specialized ropes to anchors and FADs
23/07/2020 Apia, Samoa

Nearshore fishing received substantial support with the deployment of anchored fishing aggregating devices (FAD’s) in locations around Samoa. An anchored FAD is a structure or device that is anchored to the sea bottom and has floats at the surface, this becomes an attraction for marine life and small fish which are then the food for larger high value fish like tuna.

Teams from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) deployed FAD’s in strategic locations around Upolu and Savai’i.  A total of six FAD’s we deployed in Falefa, Poutasi, Salailua, Asau, Safotu, and Leulumoega/Faga. The project is an initiative of MAF and the deployment costs financially supported by the Government of Japan and managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

MAF-Fisheries ACEO, Magele Etuati Ropeti said the FAD programme is one of the key development activities for MAF-Fisheries to support small-scale commercial fisheries. “Our FAD programme requires hard labour and careful planning and execution, with a top team in MAF Fisheries, we are confident our deployed FADs will go a long way in helping our small scale fishermen with their livelihoods and food security,” said Magele.

“Fish is an important source of food, income and cultural identity for people,” FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands and Representative to Samoa, Ms Eriko Hibi said. “FAO is pleased to support fishing communities, develop livelihood opportunities, encourage sustainable management of coastal resources and promote safety at sea under this project.”

Before departure, the vessel was loaded with essential equipment to set two deep water FADs. This included a concrete block anchors, hundreds of meters of rope, a string of surface floats and a surface flag marker to make it easier to locate by fishers.

This FAD design, commonly called the “Indian Ocean FAD” after the region where it was first designed, is a very simple but effective design that is low cost, long lasting and highly effective at collecting a variety of tuna and deep sea species.

Local fishermen are actively involved in the FAD programme, particularly in the identification of preferred sites for FAD deployment. On the day of deployment, fisherman waited for the arrival of the team at designated sites to greet them. The MAF-Fisheries deployment team were pleased that local fishers were present at sea to deploy the FADs together.

Before deployment, the ocean floor of the selected site was surveyed with a high quality echo sounder that was acquired for the project to assure the correct deployment depth and a smooth ocean floor. Areas near steep drop offs should be avoided or the FAD may be lost.

All six FADs were successfully deployed.


Enhancing livelihoods and food security through fisheries with nearshore fish aggregating devices in the Pacific (FishFAD) is an FAO regional project. The FishFAD project seeks to strengthen the contribution of small-scale tuna fisheries to food and nutrition security and the improvement of associated livelihoods, in light of fisheries playing an important role in the provision of food and income for Pacific Island countries. FishFAD is being implemented in Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The Government of Japan is providing USD 4.636 million (ST 12.248 million) for the three-year project.