KOROR, PALAU, 25 FEBRUARY 2010: The first Presidential Summit of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) which includes leaders from Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, opens today.

The Presidents will meet at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Centre to discuss the development of the PNA, which aims to develop innovative ways to maximize economic gains from sustainable management of the members’ tuna fisheries.

The PNA, has been dubbed ‘OPEC for tuna’ because it aims to control access to tuna in its waters and so increase economic benefits for Pacific Islanders. PNA waters supply around 25% of the world’s supply of tuna.

Innovative PNA measures – such as competitive fees for fishing (days for fishing are traded and sold to the highest bidder) and establishing agreements for more jobs and income in Pacific Islands such as through joint ventures, crewing and on-shore processing – have enabled PNA leaders to secure greater economic benefits for its peoples. 

These economic gains are based on control of access to fishing through conservation measures – many of which are world firsts – such as the high seas pockets closure, controls on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and the 100% coverage of purse seine fishing vessels with observers. The PNA has no dolphin bycatch and measures to limit the impact of tuna fishing on sharks and turtles.

This successful combination of both economically profitable and sustainable tuna fisheries management is supported by a commercial office in Majuro, Marshall Islands, staffed by PNA Director Dr Transform Aqorau, PNA Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn and PNA Coordinator Anton Jimwereiy.

The PNA Office, opened in January 2010, is the first major step Small Island Developing States have made to maximize economic gains from their tuna resources without relying on foreign aid. The office liaises with industry to secure profitable business relationships and international organizations for further expertise in development of its initiatives.

The Presidential Summit will discuss plans for development of tuna including the progress towards establishing an Organization for Tuna Exporting Countries, reviewing the amendments to the Nauru Agreement to give the PNA Office international legal capacity and exploring additional conservation and management measures.

News and statements will be released shortly after the close of the Summit later today. Presidents attending include Federated States of Micronesia President Emmanuel Mori, Kiribati President Anote Tong, Palau President Johnson Toribiong, Nauru President Marcus Stephen, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua and Tuvalu Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia. Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Michael Somare will be represented by his Resources and Trade Minister Ben Semri. Marshall Islands President Iroij Jurelang Zedkaia will be represented by Honorable Minister of Resources & Development, Mattlan Zackhras.

For interviews contact Anouk Ride: [email protected]