Recent developments in Pacific tuna fisheries: the Palau Arrangement and the Vessel Day Scheme
The Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) under the Palau Arrangement is the largest and most complexfishery management arrangement ever to be put in place, at least in terms of the value of thefishery, the area covered and the multi-national nature of the fishery. Its significance to theconservation of the worldÃÂ¿s last remaining healthy tuna stocks cannot be underestimated.It also represents a paradigm shift in the way in which Pacific Island States have oftenviewed their tuna resources. For a long time, the major beneficiaries from their tuna stockshave been vessels from distant-water fishing nations (DWFNs). The change from capacitylimits to effort controls was not without resistance. DWFNs did not want to see effort controlsreplace capacity limits, which they believed rightfully belonged to them. This article discussesthe VDS, highlights its key features and explores a number of options which may be applied by the Pacific Island States in its implementation. The article also examines some of the issuesthat could potentially have an impact on the implementation of the scheme. The article concludesthat the VDS puts power firmly in the hands of Pacific Island States. The onus howeveris on the Pacific Island States to ensure that they achieve the efficacy desired by the planners ofthe VDS.