Simple Fishing Device

By George Grow

This is the VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT.

People in the Cape Verde islands near the west coast of Africa are using a simple, low-cost device to catch more fish. The device is known as a fish-aggregating device. It is made from old automobile parts, pieces of cloth, and gas containers.

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization officials report that seventeen fishing devices have been put into Cape Verde's waters in the past year. Jean Gallene is a fisherman working with the F-A-O project. He reports that the amount of fish caught increased more than one-hundred percent in more than half the areas where the device was used.

The fish-aggregating device has three main parts. A thick metal wire extends from the surface of the water to the sea bottom. A heavy weight holds the wire at the bottom of the sea. A colorful object floats on the surface of the water. Cloth material is attached to the wire. In time, the material traps small plants floating in the water. Small fish feed on the plants. Then, larger fish swim to the area to feed on the small fish. Because of the device, people fishing in boats know where to find these large fish.

The effectiveness of the fishing device has been demonstrated before. However, each device generally costs two-thousand dollars or more. That is too costly in many areas.

F-A-O officials found a way to make a similar product at a lower cost. They used materials produced locally in Cape Verde. Automobile tires filled with heavy materials served as weights. Cloth from grain storage bags was used to trap plants. Empty gas containers were used as floats. The final cost of each device was only about one-hundred forty dollars.

Mr. Gallene says the price of the device is so low that most fishing communities can pay back the cost after a month. He notes that, in the past, five boats could catch an average of about three-hundred kilograms of fish a week. This was during the main fishing season. He says the fish caught increased to seven-thousand kilograms in one area where the fishing devices were used.

F-A-O officials say the effectiveness of the devices could lead to too much fishing in some industrial countries. But they say this is not a concern with the limited fishing common in Cape Verde.

This VOA Special English AGRICULTURE REPORT was written by George Grow.

Voice of America Special English