FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Crucial ocean surveys underway in Kiribati

South Tarawa including Betio FAD Committee on board the Fisheries Division extension vessel

Coinciding with World Ocean Day, ocean surveys to map ideal locations prior to deploying fishing aggregating devices (FAD) were conducted on June 8, 2020. A FAD is a structure or device in the ocean that is used to lure fish.

Conducting proper surveys prior to deploying FADs at any new sites is crucial. Surveys provide accurate depth information and reveal the topography of the seabed. This work is carried out using a vessel equipped with a depth sounder.

The survey is part of a broader regional project to improving livelihoods through sustainable nearshore tuna fisheries in the Pacific (FishFAD).

Project team advisor, Michael Savins said. “As part of the projects key priorities for ecological FAD practices, pre deployment surveys to accurately determine bottom slopes are extremely important.” Savins explained. “We used a quality depth sounder to identify bottom slopes to accurately verify and record locations that will greatly improve selecting suitable FAD locations.”

Pre deployment surveys received support in South Tarwara including backing by the Betio FAD Committee, which was established in 2019. The FAD committee joined the team on pre deployment surveys. Time together on the boat with the FAD committee gave opportunity for the teams to discuss how to push an existing FAD fishing training program forward. The fishing program will come under the Secretary General special assistance funds for the COVID-19 response for Kiribati.


Enhancing livelihoods and food security through fisheries with nearshore fish aggregating devices in the Pacific (FishFAD) is a regional project which is funded by Japan was approved in 2019. This 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.


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