Environmentalists Discover Commercial Fishing Raft on North End Beach in Palm Beach

R. Michael Brown  |  Beaches & Intracoastal  |  Our Town  |  April 3, 2019

Diane Buhler, Founder of Friends of Palm Beach – the beach cleanup non-profit, called the Civic Association with a news tip Monday.  Environmentalists Bryan Galvin and Heather Bolint, from Plastic Symptoms, who are on a 400 mile beach walk on the east coast of Florida to raise awareness about the dangers of ocean plastics, found a giant plastic disk on the North End beach known as a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD).

WPTV – NBC5 (2:05)

FADs are floating artificial structures that are deployed in the ocean to attract schools of fish for commercial fishing operations.

Bryan Galvin, Diane Buhler, and Heather Bolint

Bryan Galvin, Diane Buhler, and Heather Bolint (Photo: Diane Buhler)

Typically, these FADs consist of a floating raft, submerged synthetic netting, and a satellite buoy that allows a fishing vessel to return to a specific location to gather the catch. Synthetic rope or webbing often secures the components to the raft, and the webbing beneath the device can extend to depths of more than 200 feet.

Drifting FADs float freely on the ocean surface and act like a seaweed line or mat and attract multiple species gathering underneath them.

They can be adrift for years at a time and attract a wide variety of marine life, including skipjack tuna, sharks, billfish, juvenile yellowfin and bigeye tuna, and sea turtles, many of which end up dead or dying as part of the overall catch.

FAD fishing is widespread and growing because of its increased efficiency—meaning more fish are caught with less effort. This method is used to catch almost half of the world’s tuna and is driving the overfishing of bigeye tuna across the Pacific Ocean.

Pew Environmental (0:45)

To date, there are no officially available estimates of the number of drifting FADs deployed by industrial fishing operations; but, an estimate of 50,000 to over 100,000 has been derived by the Pew Environmental Group.


Environmentalists uncover mysterious object on Palm Beach
See More (WPTV – NBC5)

‘Stopping the demand’ for plastics: Why these two Palm Beach County residents are walking the state’s coastline
Read More (Palm Beach Daily News)


Back to News
Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio State-of-the Town Address

Beaches & Intracoastal  |  Civic Association  |  Our Town  |  Public Safety  |  Tax and Finance  |  Transportation & Bridge Alert  |  Utilities  |  April 17, 2019

Mayor’s State-of-the-Town Address During the Palm Beach Civic Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting

In her ninth State of Palm Beach address, Mayor Gail Coniglio spoke about the upcoming positive...

See more
Palm Beach Civic Association Annual Meeting 2019

Civic Association  |  Our Town  |  April 17, 2019

Palm Beach Civic Association Presents Awards at Annual Meeting

More than 400 people attended the Palm Beach Civic Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting and End of...

See more