FADS and Bycatch

FADs attract more sea life than just tuna. In addition to other species of bony fish, sharks and turtles are known to visit FADs. In some instances, those animals become entangled in the netting on the raft (turtles) or in the netting suspended under the raft (turtles, sharks and other fishes). The main shark species that often associate with floating objects are the silky shark and, to a lesser extent, the oceanic whitetip shark. Several turtle species can be found around floating objects, depending on area, the most common being the olive ridley turtle. While turtles can get trapped in the submerged netting, they can also become entangled when they climb on the floating structure. The turtle’s claws can easily become entangled in the mesh panels covering the raft. The proportion of turtles that come into contact with FADs and are able to swim away to those that become permanently entangled is currently unknown. Entanglement issues vary greatly by region, though, and are influenced by the mesh size of FAD materials.