Australian Marine Parks

Thursday 3 September 2020

Perth Canyon, locally known as the Rottnest Trench, is an immense feature that rivals the Grand Canyon in both size and depth.

Lying just west of Perth, its dramatic seafloor topography combines with ocean currents to create the perfect spot for deep-sea and pelagic species, making it a fishing paradise. Through the use of different management zones, Perth Canyon Marine Park protects unique marine life while supporting recreational fishing.

In 2019, Parks Australia authorised the Perth Game Fishing Club (PGFC) to deploy three fish aggregating devices (FADs) in the Multiple Use Zone over summer, as part of a long running program.

In the open ocean, natural and man-made floating objects provide structure and shelter. They attract everything from tiny barnacles that affix themselves to the shadowed underside of the structures to top-order predators like tuna, marlin and sharks that mill about, waiting for a meal.

Fishers have long understood the lure of floating objects and used them to improve their fishing experiences. Now, FADs are being used to create a good day on the water and support local businesses and boost regional economies at the same time.

During their six-month deployment, the three FADs attracted nearly 2,500 fishers and a variety of fish species including mahi mahi, southern bluefin and skipjack tuna.

As the owners of the FADs, PGFC were required to meet conditions to ensure the structures didn’t inadvertently create an entanglement or marine debris threat, and could be easily retrieved in the unlikely event that they broke free. PGFC has over 25 years of experience in the deployment and recovery of six FADs each year in the Perth Canyon area.

Parks Australia’s ongoing collaborative work with recreational fishers in Western Australia is vital to our management of Australian Marine Parks. Read more info about the use of FADs in Australian Marine Parks.