Bo on a boat holding a large mahi mahi.

Fish aggregating devices (FADs)

Check out this impressive mahi mahi caught by Bo around fish aggregating device (FAD) 1, just off the Gold Coast.

Mahi mahi are one of the most common fish found near these devices, along with other pelagic fish such as cobia. They are also one of the fastest growing fish in the sea making them a resilient fish species.

The information below is from Qld Fisheries

Fish aggregating devices (FADs) are human-made structures anchored offshore that attract fish, making them easier to catch so you can have a great fishing experience.

To start with, 25 surface FADs were deployed off South East Queensland, from Fraser Island to the Gold Coast. These have been popular with fishers, with great catches of mahi mahi reported.

As part of the next stage of the program, four surface FADs were deployed off Weipa, three surface and four all-water FADs off Wide Bay Burnett and 12 subsurface FADs off South East Queensland. Additional devices are also being considered for other parts of Queensland.



Most fish attracted are seasonal pelagic fish, which travel in the warm water delivered by ocean currents. Species caught around them include mahi mahi, wahoo, tuna, cobia, mackerel and billfish.

Mahi mahi are the most common species of fish caught around these devices and are the perfect sport fish:

  • They have a remarkable growth rate, known to grow as fast as 7cm in a week.
  • Adult fish can grow to almost 200cm (weighing up to 40kg).
  • They can be sexually mature as early as 6 months of age and reproduce at a high rate.
  • They are relatively short-lived – they rarely live past 2 years of age.

Find out how to fish safely around a FAD. To report a lost or damaged FAD, email fads@daf.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

Monitoring programs

You can help monitor fish numbers around FADs:

  • Provide details of your recreational fishing trips via the FAD survey form
  • Provide your catch details to Fisheries Queensland boat ramp survey staff at public boat ramps
  • Tag pelagic fish caught near FADs (find out how to get involved in the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Game Fish Tagging Program)
  • Report the capture of tagged mahi mahi by calling the phone number on the tag or emailing fads@daf.qld.gov.au.

FADs are also fitted with acoustic receivers that detect and track acoustic-tagged animals. They form part of the Integrated Marine Observing System national receiver network for animal tracking around Australia.

Find a FAD

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