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 Palau Arrangement for the operation of the Purse Seine Vessel Day Scheme (amended October 2016) sets the rules for fishing in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the PNA states. All vessels wanting to fish in the EEZs must be licenced under the scheme. A Longline Vessel Day Scheme operates in a similar way.

The PNA members meet every year to set limits on the total amount of fishing allowed. This is calculated as a total allowable effort (TAE) allowed by all vessels in each management year. The TAE is usually set a couple of years ahead, and is published by the PNA.

The maximum number of fishing days for purse-seine and longline fishing is determined based on the best available scientific, economic and management information. It includes the current status of fish stocks.

At the annual meeting, the parties review the implementation of measures designed to maintain and conserve fish stocks – including the effectiveness of measures designed to reduce fish mortality, especially for young bigeye and yellowfin tuna.

The PNA has two main practices for conserving its fish stocks:

  1. limiting the catch of all fishing vessels through the vessel day scheme, explained in more detail under ‘Catch & harvest
  2. banning the use of fish-aggregating devices by purse-seine fishers for three months a year.
Effective management of tuna stocks is vital for the economic development of SIDS. A baiter at work throwing into the water. Photo: Francisco Blaha.