Oct. 13, 2006 – Thanks to the installation of two replacement Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) off St. Thomas, area anglers will have a better chance of catching a fish.
Toby Tobias, acting director at the Department of Planning and Natural Resources' Fish and Wildlife Division, said Friday that the devices attract tuna, dolphin, wahoo, and marlin — or what he termed, "seasonally abundant pelagic fish."
He said the FADs are a 58-inch diameter steel sphere with a radar reflector and a yellow strobe light. They're anchored with a combination of floating and sinking line and half-inch chain and are attached to a 3-ton concrete anchor.
The two new FADs replace ones that wore out about six months ago.
FAD F is located at 18.35 degrees north latitude and 65.03 degrees west longitude, or 9.8 nautical miles north of Cricket Rock. FAD H is sitting at 18.38 degrees north latitude and 64.58 degrees west longitude, or 16.5 nautical miles north of Outer Brass.
The third FAD, designated E, is located off St. Thomas 10 nautical miles south of Charlotte Amalie. Its coordinates are 18.11 degrees north latitude and 64.55 degrees west longitude. Tobias said unlike the other two, which float, this one is submerged.
Fish and Wildlife has three floating FADs located off St. Croix.
FAD R is at 17.39 degrees north latitude and 65.04 degrees west longitude. That puts it 11.5 nautical miles southeast of Frederiksted.
The second FAD, called S, is located 6.5 nautical miles northwest of Butler Bay. Its coordinates are 17.49 degrees north latitude and 65.01 degrees west longitude.
FAD U is located at 17.44 degrees north latitude and 64.54 degrees west longitude. It sits 7.2 nautical miles north of Christiansted.
Tobias said the U.S. Navy has a submerged buoy used as a FAD off St. Croix's west coast. Its coordinates are 17.44 degrees north latitude and 64.54 degrees west longitude.
Tobias said the FADs occasionally need to be replaced because they fall prey to damage from vessels and fish bites.
"Fish with sharp teeth," he said.
And he said that fishing line can saw through the anchor line.
Log books for recreational fishermen are available at Fish and Wildlife offices.
Commercial fishermen are asked to record catches at FADS on their catch report forms.
Call Fish and Wildlife at 774-3320 on St. Thomas and 773-1082 on St. Croix.
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