Palau will continue to advocate for sustainable fishing and its contribution as part of the eight-member of the Parties of the Nauru Agreement (PNA) is to put in place policies to discourage overfishing.

“As part of the PNA member countries, we establish conservation area within each jurisdiction, in the mold of similar activities as Protected Areas Network or sanctuaries, to ensure sustainability of the fisheries resource into the future,” President Tommy Remengesau said.

The PNA controls the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery. The PNA members are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Remengesau said under the PNA arrangement Palau continue to receive its share of the revenues, despite small fishing activities in its waters.

Palau receives its share under the PNA’s Vessel Day Scheme (VDS). The VDS is a system of tradable fishing efforts or says allocated to the eight members.

Fishing days are sold to fleets at a price of at least $8,000 per fishing day.

Palau has earned over $5 million in 2016 from its VDS revenue while the nations VDS revenue from longline fisheries amounted to $475,480 that year.

The president said Palau contributes to the PNA as one of the strongest champion against illegal and unsustainable fishing

“We don’t want to continue with the unsustainable fishing practice of harvest, harvest and harvest, that’s why there should be an active program to ensure sustainable population of the fish stocks in the Pacific region,” Remengesau said.

He said Palau’s national marine sanctuary law is “Palau’s contribution to the overall PNA commitment to not only harvest but also conserve the resources.”

In an earlier statement, PNA and Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) stated a report on the impact of IUU fishing prepared for the FFA in 2016 estimated the value of catch associated with illegal fishing at over US$600 million annually, with the direct economic loss to FFA members of around US$150 million. (By Bernadette H. Carreon)