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.

Article 5 of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (signed in 1982 and amended in 2010) discusses the role of the PNA Office (PNAO). One of its goals is to keep numbers of tuna at sustainable levels while maximising the incomes of citizens of member states.

The Palau Arrangement for the operation of the Purse Seine Vessel Day Scheme (amended October 2016) and a similar arrangement for the Longline Vessel Day Scheme (amended October 2016) say how the PNAO manages tuna. The arrangements set out the operating rules for these two types of fishing vessels. Under the rules, the PNA members sell a limited number of fishing days in the exclusive economic zones of the PNA states.

Minimum benchmark fees for foreign vessels licenced to use fishing days under the vessel day scheme were set by a memorandum of understanding signed in Palau in 2013, and updated in 2014.

Every year, PNAO economists assess rents against changes in prices and costs, and this information is used to set benchmark fees. Fishing days are sold annually to industrial fishing nations, either as part of a negotiated bilateral agreement or through a tender. PNA members are also exploring options to strengthen the selling of fishing days by auction.

A man and a woman in a small canoe on the water in front of the hull of a ship. Photo Francisco Blaha.
PNA policies are intended to bring economic benefit to the citizens of member states, such as these two fishers in Papua New Guinea. Photo: Francisco Blaha.