The industrial fisheries for yellow-fin tuna in the equatorial waters of the western Pacific Ocean make important contributions to global fish supplies. The 1.3 million tonnes of tuna caught each year supply 25% of the world’s canned tuna. In addition, these fisheries are vital to the economies of Pacific Island Countries (PICs); license fees from foreign fishing fleets contribute 10-40% of government revenue for several small island nations. However, the effects of the El Niño Southern Oscillation on the distribution and abundance of these species creates uncertainty with regard to where fishing benefits will be greatest. During La Niña events, tuna catches are highest in the western part of the region. During El Niño episodes, the best catches are made further east. To keep catches within sustainable bounds and optimize distribution of economic benefits, eight PICs control and distribute fishing catches through the ‘vessel-day scheme’ (VDS). These eight countries are known as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA). The VDS sets a total allowable quota for fishing days within PNA waters. This is allocated among the PNA members, based on historical patterns of fishing. Members are able to trade VDS between themselves to accommodate situations where fish are unusually concentrated either in the west or east due to ENSO events. Such trading aims to ensure that all PNA members continue to receive some level of benefits from the fisheries, regardless of where tuna are concentrated.
Relationship to CSA
Limits on vessel-days serve as a consistent, reliable tool for managing the fishery’s long-term productivity, while permit trading improves cost-effectiveness of productivity. The expected outcome is more equitable returns to fishing livelihoods. The allocation and trading of fishing days allows flexible adaptation to year-to-year climate variation and slow-onset change. While reduced emissions are not the principal focus, capping the activity of vessels indirectly limits their fuel based carbon output.
Impacts and lessons learned
Like other cap-and-trade programmes, the VDS scheme leverages market forces to make environmental regulations more efficient. In addition, the chance to share the benefits of the fishery while protecting it for future generations gives countries a strong incentive to continue participating (CCAFS 2013). 3
CCAFS Big Facts - Cap and trade for tuna across 8 Pacific Island states: https://ccafs.cgiar.org/bigfacts/#theme=evidence-of-success&subtheme=fisheries&casestudy=fisheriesCs1
FAO. 2013a. Climate-Smart Agriculture: Sourcebook. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3325e.pdf Between now and 2050, the world’s population will increase by one-third. Most of these additional 2 billion people will live in developing countries. At the same time, more people will be living in cities. If current income and consumption growth trends continue, FAO estimates that agricultural production will have to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to satisfy the expected demands for food and feed. Agriculture must therefore transform itself if it is to feed a growing global population and provide the basis for economic growth and poverty reduction. Climate change will make this task more difficult under a business-as-usual scenario, due to adverse impacts on agriculture, requiring spiralling adaptation and related costs.
Bell JD, Johnson JE, Hobday AJ, (Eds.). 2011. Vulnerability of tropical Pacific fisheries and aquaculture to climate change. Noumea, New Caledonia: Secretariat of the Pacific Community.http://horizon.documentation.ird.fr/exl-doc/pleins_textes/divers15-01/010063492.pdf This book provides a comprehensive climate change vulnerability assessment of tropical Pacific aquaculture and fisheries. There is little doubt that climate impact will increase in the coming years, having profound effects on fishery and aquaculture production. Rapid population growth in the Pacific Island countries demands new sustainable approaches to successfully meet food security demands, capable of responding to the many climate drivers which affect the production of fish and shellfish. Vulnerabilities and adaptation responses need to be identified, and the book brings together contributions from scientists and fisheries managers from 36 institutions around the globe. Not only do the vulnerabilities need to be addressed, but adaptations, policies and investment need to be able to take advantage of potential opportunities as well.
CCAFS. 2013. Big Facts on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Copenhagen, Denmark: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).https://ccafs.cgiar.org/bigfacts/# Big Facts is a resource of the most up-to-date and robust facts relevant to the nexus of climate change, agriculture and food security. It is intended to provide a credible and reliable platform for fact checking amid the range of claims that appear in reports, advocacy materials and other sources. Full sources are supplied for all facts and figures and all content has gone through a process of peer review.