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Selected Replicable Technology Models for Rural Application
Artificial Reefs/Fish Aggregating Devices for Coastal Marine Application

Problem/Need

Indian has 8129 kms of coastline with a continental shelf of 512,000 sq.km and 2.2 million sq.km of marine waters in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Estimated harvestable marine fishery resources are about 3.9 million tonnes annually. Availability of fish resources upto a depth of 50 meters is estimated at 2.8 million tones, between 50-200 meters depth 1.336 million tones, between 200-500 meters 0.028 million tones and at oceanic zone level 0.246 million tones. The annual catch is currently 2.57 million tonnes, of which 80 percent is from upto 50 m depth, the zone mostly accessed by traditional fishermen. However, this is only 66 percent of the total catch available. The Artificial Reef or Fish Aggregating Device (AR/FAD) technology helps realize the full potential of marine resources available in coastal India, and in order to increase the fish catch and thus incomes of traditional fisher folk.

Approach/Strategy

Fishermen traditionally sink branches of trees and other such objects to act as artificial reefs based on their observation that fish tend to gather at and around such natural reefs under the sea. The AR/FAD technology is based on this traditional practice.

The AR/FAD is a man-made structure sunk onto the seabed to attract and provide a gathering place for fish to facilitate capture. It is a relatively simple structure made of readily available materials and installed in the sea with suitable anchoring at selected sites. A buoy is attached to the sunken structure with a nylon rope connection. The HDPE framework and the ropes are stung with netting materials, pipe pieces, old tyres, etc. which act as attractants.

Fishes are attracted by the moving shadows created by the sunken structure in seawater and gather around the device. Some fishes take shelter under the shadow while some others nibble at small plants and animals sticking to the devices.

The device enables a larger catch at readily identifiable spots closer to shore, saves time spent by traditional fishermen searching for good fishing sites and also enables capture of species from deeper waters which normally may not be available at these lesser depths.

 
 

Benefits: The AR/FAD offers the following benefits:
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Fishermen's catch, and thus income, increases by 50-150%. 
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Minimises drudgery, searching time and hazards for fishermen.
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Increases variety of catch since different species of fish (including predatory fish and those from deeper waters) converge at the AR/FAD.
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Reduces fuel-consumption of mechanized fishing boats.
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Provides excellent environment and substratum for marine plant life and other organisms to proliferate thus producing further links in the food chain.
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Use of HDPE-based structure with concrete anchors and buoys make the AR/FAD long lasting and capable of aggregating fishes inhabiting all levels.

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Helps demarcate territorial waters for traditional fishermen and assists in enforcing the Marine Fishing Regulation Act.
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