skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Fish aggregating devices (FADs) and artificial reefs

Fish aggregating devices (FADs) ​

The State Government is investing $1.5 million over the next 3 years to expand the FADs program as part of the support package for the recovery of the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource. This follows the successful four-year trial by Recfishwest through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.

The latest program will be managed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and provides exciting sport fishing opportunities for recreational fishers.

FADs consist of buoys or floats that are moored to the ocean floor using an anchor system.  The primary function of a FAD is to attract baitfish which use the FAD as shelter and attract pelagic fish such as mahi-mahi, tuna, and marlin.

Fishing off FADs provides recreational fishers with the opportunity to switch their catch and target different species to give fish such as pink snapper and dhufish a rest and the opportunity to recover.

The State-wide program will see FADs deployed (and retrieved) annually from Albany to Broome.

FAD locations

FADs have been deployed at the following locations.

​FAD # Location​ ​Coordinates (DDM)​
​01​​ North Metro
(retrieved for winter)
31-37.0237 S, 115-07.9912 E​
​02 North Metro​
(retrieved for winter)
31-41.9952 S, 115-07.9974 E​
​03 North Metro​
(retrieved for winter)
31-42.0204 S, 115-10.5124 E​
​04 North Metro​
(retrieved for winter)​
31-43.9927 S, 115-10.5580 E​
​07 Rockingham​
(retrieved for winter)
32-21.5110 S, 115-04.4140 E​
​08 Rockingham​
(retrieved for winter)
32-14.8760 S, 115-07.3000 E​
​09 Mandurah​
(retrieved for winter)
32-31.5600 S, 115-04.2000 E​
​10 Mandurah​
(retrieved for winter)​
​32-37.6410 S, 115-01.7210 E​
​11 ​Lancelin
(retrieved for winter)
​31-15.1320 S, 115-01.5480 E
​12 ​Lancelin
(retrieved for winter)
​31-03.9470 S, 114-52.4630 E
​13 ​Jurien
(retrieved for winter)
​30-01.4680 S, 114-28.4890 E
​14 ​Jurien
(retrieved for winter)
​30-13.1860 S, 114-34.2560 E
​15 ​Jurien
(retrieved for winter)​
​30-16.5000 S, 114-34.7540 E
​16 ​Jurien
​30-29.6240 S, 114-37.3150 E​
​17 ​Steep Pt
(retrieved for winter)
​26-10.353 S, 113-2.188 E
​18 ​Steep Pt
(retrieved for winter)​
​26-6.378 S, 113-6.336 E
​19 ​Woodman Pt
(retrieved for winter)
​32-06.780 S, 115-07.260 E
​20 ​Woodman Pt
(retrieved for winter)
​32-06.780 S, 115-09.600 E
​21 Albany​
(retrieved for winter)
35-18.796 S, 118-1.906 E
​22 ​Albany
(retrieved for winter)
​35-18.709 S, 118-5.422 E
​23 ​Albany
(retrieved for winter)
​35-21.989 S, 118-07.936 E
​24 ​Albany
(retrieved for winter)​
​35-23.537 S, 118-05.571 E​
​25 ​Cape Naturaliste
(retrieved for winter)
​33-16.575 S, 114-32.648 E
​26 ​Cape Naturaliste
(retrieved for winter)
​33-18.991 S, 114-41.797 E
​27 ​Cape Naturaliste
(retrieved for winter)
33-13.964 S, 114-51.489 E​
​28 ​Cape Naturaliste
(retrieved for winter)​
​33-08.685 S, 114-56.630 E​
​29 ​Geraldton
(retrieved for winter)​​
​28-51.493 S, 114-29.270 E
​30 ​Abrolhos
(retrieved for winter)
​28-59.003 S, 113-46.884 E
​31 ​Abrolhos
​28-49.656 S, 113-39.923 E
​32 ​Abrolhos
(retrieved for winter)
​28-29.682 S, 113-26.930 E​
​33 ​Exmouth ​21-34.500 S, 113-58.000 E
​34 Exmouth​
​21-35.852 S, 114-06.751 E
​35 ​Exmouth ​21-37.853 S, 114-02.481 E
​36 ​Exmouth
​21-38.578 S, 114-06.225 E​
​37 ​Broome ​17-54.369 S, 121-45.595 E 
​38 ​Broome ​17-56.928 S, 121-34.420 E 
​39 ​Broome ​17-48.709 S, 121-39.364 E 
​40 ​Broome ​17-46.011 S, 121-34.626 E ​
​41 ​Dampier ​20-20.494 S, 116-15.299 E
​42 ​Dampier ​20-17.044 S, 117-7.873 E
​43 ​Dampier ​20-24.464 S, 116-23.999 E
​44 ​Dampier​ ​20-30.046 S, 116-17.639 E

Artificial reefs

Artificial reefs are designed to enhance recreational fishing opportunities by providing additional habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms, increasing their numbers in the area. 

The reefs come in many different sizes, shapes and models, for example some are tower-like steel structures whereas others are cube-shaped, constructed from reinforced concrete. Once installed on the ocean floor the reef structures begin to be populated by aquatic life, attracting more organisms and fish, and a food web begins to develop.

​S​outh West artificial reefs trial project​​

In 2013, in collaboration with Recfishwest, we installed two artificial reefs on the seabed off Dunsborough and Bunbury as part of our South West Artificial Reefs Trial Project.

Click on the map above to view a larger version.

The $2.38 million project is the first purpose-built recreational fishing artificial reef trial of its kind in Western Australia and includes four-year funding for a comprehensive scientific monitoring program closely observing the reefs’ ecological development.

Each artificial reef is made up of 30 ten-tonne reinforced concrete modules placed in six clusters in the four-hectare reef area and provides suitable habitats for a wide range of species. 

This ‘fish cube’ design used for the reef modules has been established specifically to enhance recreational fishing opportunities for the project’s ‘target species’ – pink snapper, silver (skipjack) trevally and Samson fish.

Our researchers are carrying out a comprehensive monitoring program of the South West artificial reefs to assess their biological and ecological aspects.

Various fish species including pink snapper and West Australian dhufish swimming around an artificial reef module
Some of the fish species found on or around the artificial reefs including pink snapper, West Australian dhufish and Samson fish (in the background).

Community benefits

The reefs are proving popular among locals and visitors fishing in Geographe Bay with plenty of reports of good catches from over and around the reefs. As well as enhancing recreational fishing opportunities for locals and tourists, the initiative is benefiting local businesses connected to recreational angling, boating and accommodation.

Each artificial reef project is being funded through recreational fishing licence fees as part of the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, with the South West project also receiving funding from the Royalties for Regions program ($1.86 million).

The recreational fishing community is also getting involved – Recfishwest have set up a dedicated Facebook page for recreational fishers to share their fishing experiences on the reefs.

A Samson fish swimming by an artificial reef module
A Samson fish swims by one of the artificial reef modules in Geographe Bay.

Other artificial reefs projects

In addition to the South West Artificial Reefs Trial Project, another two artificial reef projects are being progressed by Recfishwest, with one installed off Mandurah in April 2016 and two 'artificial reef towers' installed south of Rottnest Island in December 2016.

The Mandurah reef is of a similar design to the South West artificial reefs and is the first artificial reef entirely funded by recreational fishing licence fees.


Last modified: 12/06/2024 11:21 AM


 Dunsborough artificial reef


 Bunbury artificial reef


 Construction and deployment

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745


© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.


The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at