Marine Instruments’ dFAD recovery project prevents them from reaching coral reefs

Marine Instruments’ dFAD recovery project prevents them from reaching coral reefs
27 June 2023

Marine Instruments, is collaborating with the environmental organization The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to conserve and protect sensitive marine areas such as reefs, lagoons and beaches on remote islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The aim of the collaboration, which includes other agencies and multi-country tuna purse seine companies, is to optimize the management of drifting fish aggregating devices (dFADs) before they reach these protected areas. dFADs are floating structures under which tuna aggregate and are usually equipped with a satellite buoy such as the M3iGO, designed and marketed by Marine Instruments. Having the buoy, which reports its position, makes it possible to track and recover the dFAD itself before it damages the reef.

Protection of vital and vulnerable marine environments

When a dFAD, enter the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) region, which includes Palmyra Atoll, TNC receives the buoy data and location with the consent of the tuna vessel owners. Once the buoy drifts within 6 nautical miles of Palmyra Atoll,TNC is authorized to retrieve the buoy and associated dFAD. TNC has also developed buoy repurposing strategies that include pelagic conservation research and assisting with Pacific Island community artesanal fishing projects.

For a responsible management of the FAD

The initiative, which has been officially underway since 2021, and in which Marine Instruments has participated since the beginning, has so far succeeded in removing several threatening dFADs, before they could ground on Palmyra Atoll’s sensitive and extensive coral reef ecosystem.

This project, which continues to gain momentum and industry support year after year, seeks to promote sustainability and commitment to better dFAD management in and around the western and central Pacific islands through a relationship based on trust and common goals among the parties involved.