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.
Article 4 of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (signed in 1982 and amended in 2010) states that the Parties need to establish procedures and administrative arrangements for the exchange and analysis of:
- statistical data about catch and effort by fishing vessels in the Fisheries Zones
- information about vessel specifications and fleet composition.
The Vessel Day Scheme – cornerstone of the Parties to Nauru Agreement
The Palau Arrangement/Purse Seine Vessel Day Scheme (amended in April 2016) sets out rules for the Purse Seine Vessel Day Scheme (VDS), a unique PNA scheme to sell a limited number of fishing days to the PNA members to ensure sustainable management of tuna, as well as maximise income.
The VDS applies to vessels:
- operating under a valid licence issued under the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) arrangement, adopted in 1995
- fishing in waters outside of their own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Vessels operating under the VDS are allocated a maximum number of fishing days per management year. Once this maximum has been reached, a vessel must immediately stop fishing outside of its EEZ.
A ‘fishing day’ is calculated according to how long a vessel is in the area, its fishing activity and the size of the boat:
- if a vessel is in an area outside its EEZ for 24 hours and does any fishing activity for any length of time = 1 day
- if a vessel is outside its EEZ for only part of a day and only fishes for part of a day = part day
- if a vessel is in an area outside its EEZ for 24 hours and does NO fishing activity for any length of time = 0 day
- for vessels smaller than 50 metres, 1 fishing day = 0.5 fishing days
- for vessels 50–80 metres long, 1 fishing day = 1 fishing day
- for vessels larger than 80 metres, 1 fishing day = 1.5 fishing days.
The Longline Vessel Day Scheme (March 2015) operates similarly to the Purse Seine VDS. For longline fishing, a fishing day is calculated according to:
- the actual time spent fishing in the waters of any of the Parties (but not at port)
- if a vessel is smaller than 40 metres, 1 fishing day = 0.8 fishing days
- if a vessel is longer than 40 metres, 1 fishing day = 1.6 days.
The third arrangement for implementing the Agreement states that all bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna taken by purse-seine vessels need to be kept on-board until they are landed and transhipped, except for fish that are clearly unfit for human consumption, or excess fish caught in the last set of the trip that cannot fit on the ship.
The third arrangement for implementing the Agreement states that no vessels are to deploy or service Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and associated equipment, or to fish by purse-seining vessels on floating objects between 0001 GMT on 1 July and 2359 GMT on 30 September each year. The only exceptions are when there is deemed to be an unfair burden on a Party and or its domestic fleet.
The third arrangement for implementing the Agreement closed the following high-sea areas:
- bounded by the national waters of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Indonesia, Palau and Papua New Guinea (PNG)
- bounded by the national waters of FSM, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshal islands, Nauru, PNG, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu
- located within 10°N and 20°S latitude and 170°E and 150°W longitude.