The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) controls the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse-seine fishery. PNA countries provide around 50% of the global supply of skipjack tuna, the most commonly canned tuna.

PNA members are: Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Prohibiting the use of Fish Attracting Devices (FADs) for three months each year is the main best practice applied by PNA-licensed vessels. This practice reduces bycatch of species such as sharks and turtles.

Tuna fishing affects marine animals such as sharks, turtles, whales, dolphins, and seabirds when they are inadvertently caught (as ‘bycatch’) during normal fishing operations. As well, juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tuna, and some smaller species of tuna, none of which are desired in the catch, also end up as bycatch.

Bycatch is one of the biggest threats to marine biodiversity

Incidental bycatch is one of the biggest threats to marine biodiversity, with as much as 40% of all animals caught being discarded (See Turtles). Some estimate that about 300,000 small whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and hundreds of thousands of turtles, more than 3 million sharks, and 160,000 seabirds die every year from becoming entangled in fishing gear (WWF); by another estimate, every year worldwide, about 7.3 million tonnes of marine life is captured as bycatch (from all fishing).

It also results in economic losses

Bycatch causes economic losses in damaged fishing gear, lower catches of targeted species, and fishing restrictions being imposed (Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction).

Bycatch affects economic gains from tuna fishing. Photo credit: Francisco Blaha