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.

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

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (signed in 1982, and amended in 2010) emphasises monitoring vessels, which is achieved through Articles 2 and 3. These are summarised below.


The Parties seek a coordinated approach to the fishing of the common stocks in the Fisheries Zones by fishing vessels and, in particular:

  • grant priority to applications by fishing vessels of the Parties to fish within the Fisheries Zones over other foreign fishing vessel
  • set uniform terms and conditions under which the Parties may license fishing vessels to fish within the Fisheries Zones regarding:
    1. licensing of fishing vessels
    2. placing observers on fishing vessels
    3. maintaining a daily logbook of activities
    4. ensuring all licensed vessels report to authorities about their activities within the fishing zones
    5. standardising the identification of fishing vessels
  • establish the uniform terms and conditions under which the Parties may license fishing vessels to fish within the Fisheries Zones, including:
    1. paying access fees
    2. supplying complete catch and effort data for each voyage
    3. providing additional information as required
    4. ensuring compliance of vessels.


The Parties seek to standardise their respective licensing procedures by:

  • adopting uniform measures and procedures for the licensing of fishing vessels – including application formats, licensing formats and other relevant documents
  • establishing a centralised licensing system of fishing vessels.


The agreement also states, in Article 6, that the Parties to the agreement shall, “where appropriate, cooperate and coordinate the monitoring and surveillance of fishing activities” by:

  • quickly exchanging information collected through national surveillance activities
  • exploring the feasibility of joint surveillance
  • developing other appropriate measures.

The PNA member states have produced a number of arrangements for implementing the Parties to the Nauru Agreement.

The second arrangement for implementing the agreement states (Article 2) that the operator of the vessel or the government of their state will ensure that the vessel has installed, and maintains in good working order, an electronic positioning monitoring and data transfer device

The third arrangement states (Article 1.4) that licensed vessel operators must switch on and properly operate at all times the automatic location communicator (ALC, also known as a mobile transmitting unit).

A Solomon Islands transhipment is watched over by observers. Photo credit: Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).