Publication Details

Hanich, Q., Davis, R., Holmes, G., Amidjogbe, E. & Campbell, B. (2019). Drifting fish aggregating devices (FADs) deploying, soaking and setting - when is a FAD 'fishing'?. International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 34 1-24.


This article describes the proliferation of drifting fish aggregating devices (FADs) and analyses subsequent legal questions that arise for fisheries and marine litter management over who is responsible for FADs during their drifting stage. This follows recent concerns about unlicensed FADs drifting through closed areas. This article analyses a case study of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in order to determine State obligations to manage drifting FADs. Analysis concludes that a drifting FAD in the WCPFC Area is 'fishing' from deployment to recovery, thereby creating obligations to monitor, control and report drifting FADs, consistent with broader obligations for coastal and flag States. The article recommends strengthening regional management in three ways: implement regional drifting FAD monitoring systems; control deployment of drifting FADs so as to promote recovery and minimize lost gear; and define appropriate responses for FADs that drift into national or closed waters without a license.



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