Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA)

May 2, 2020 is World Tuna Day and this year we have a post about Parties to the Nauru Agreement

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) was implemented in 2010. It is an organization that helps manage tuna fishing in the Central and Western Pacific and controls waters where over 50% of world’s Skipjack Tuna is caught. It’s headquarters are in Majuro. It consists of 8 countries: Nauru, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Palau, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. The PNA applies to the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of each country and includes 4.5 million square miles. Close to 300 purse seiners fish in this area. The focus of PNA efforts are to sustainably manage tuna while reaping economic benefit. It has chosen to manage fishing populations by using an effort limiting system based on fishing days or Vessel Day Scheme (VDS). Others countries use catch limit systems that put limits on the tonnage of fish caught but PNA finds the VDS system easier to manage among the 8 different countries. The number of VDS days is based on scientific advice about the status of the tuna stocks and is currently around 45,800 fishing days. Fishing days are then allocated to each country and member countries can trade days between them. The Marshall Islands gets 2,800 VDS days yearly. In comparison, Papua New Guinea gets 16,000 VDS days and Kiribati gets 9,000 VDS days. VDS have a minimum fee but they are sold to the highest bidder The current minimum fee is $8,000.  In the Marshall Islands about 1/3 of the days have sold for $10,000 to $12,000. Most PNA countries give discounts to locally based vessels based on their contribution to local developments, including onshore processing employment opportunities and other spinoffs. In addition to the VDS scheme, PNA requires observers on every purse seiner and transshipment only in ports and not on the high seas. These requirements allow data to be collected on fish caught. To help manage tuna populations, PNA bans fish aggregation devices (FAD) for July, August and September each year with the option to extend up another 3 months if tuna populations are in jeopardy. Between 2000 and 2014 fishery revenue tripled, from $60 million to $250 million, for the 8 PNA countries. With the new $8000 / day VDS fees revenues could increase to $350 million. Income to the Marshall Islands has increased from $2 million yearly before VDS was fully implemented in 2010 to a projected $24 million in 2017. The VDS has been used to manage purse seiners but not long liners. In 2016, the PNA started implementing a similar VDS for Long Liners.

Map of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of pacific countries