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Project D.1.a - Exploring technologies for remote identification of FADs

01 Mar 2022 - 01 Mar 2023

Program(s) in charge: Ecosystem & Bycatch Program
Evaluate the suitability of different technologies to remotely and electronically identify FADs
  • FADs may cause significant impacts species and ecosystems.
  • Assessing impacts require efficient collection methods for high-quality data, including correct tracking and monitoring of individual FADs throughout their lifetime.
  • Currently, FADs are identified using satellite-buoy identifiers, and appropriately obtaining buoys’ alphanumeric serial numbers has traditionally been difficult for observers, and not possible with current EMS capabilities.
  • However, this information is key to merge and connect different IATTC databases.
  • EMS can generate certain data on FADs (e.g. deployments, removals) but only those types of data that can be collected with cameras.
  • An electronic system to automatically detect and identify FADs would improve the value and utility of all types of data, but particularly of data collected by EMS.
  • Several technologies for remote identification of objects are currently on the market. These technologies should be tested under controlled conditions to better understand their advantages and disadvantages.
Relevance for management
Technologies to remotely identify FADs would improve data collection and analyses and the development of comprehensive management recommendations for target and non-target species in the EPO
12 months
Workplan and status
  • [M 1-3] Preliminary assessment of candidate technologies and providers; purchase equipment.
  • [M 4-9] Test technologies under controlled conditions in the Achotines lab, Panama, gradually increasing distance between the FAD and the device used for detection and the potential severity of environmental conditions: tanks, coast, bay and open sea.
  • [M 10-12] Report writing
External collaborators
Satlink and Digital Observer Services (DOS)
May 2023: reports for the FAD working group and SAC meetings with the summary of pros and cons of all the technologies considered, with specific proposals on preferred technologies for remote FAD identification and a future action plan.
Updated date: 01 May 2023
Progress summary for the reporting period
A series of meetings were conducted with project partners.
The feasibility of testing different technologies and their pros and cons were discussed.
Final decisions were made on the technologies to be tested, and material purchased.
Fieldwork is being planned and will be executed in summer-fall 2023 in Achotines, Panama.
Challenges and key lessons learnt
The electronic shortage and logistical issues due to COVID impacted the availability of many of these technologies, as well as the delivery times and custom clearance processes.
Engineering arrangements are being made to incorporate these technologies into experimental satellite buoys, so that fieldwork is efficiently conducted.
A project extension was requested and granted due to complications related to COVID (e.g. electronic shortage, travel restrictions, customs delays).