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Oceans and fisheries


Sustainable fisheries partnership agreement with Kiribati

On 2 October 2023, the European Union and the Republic of Kiribati signed a new fisheries protocol to the sustainable fisheries partnership agreement for a duration of five years (01.10.2028). The Kiribati protocol will grant the European Union fleet operating in the Pacific Ocean access to the richest and healthiest tuna stocks worldwide, an area which provides for more than half of the global tuna catch.

Under the new protocol, EU and shipowners will potentially contribute a total of around €18 million over five years. This includes €2 million to support initiatives in the Kiribati fisheries sector. The implementation of the sectoral support programme will allow Kiribati to reinforce the capacity of Kiribati’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development as well as to continue with the implementation of sustainable fisheries policies, and more specifically to improve the lives of local fishermen, reinforce the monitoring, control and surveillance capabilities, and maintain food safety standards for local seafood consumption and for exports.

For the first time in a fisheries protocol between the EU and Kiribati, it was agreed to have an effort management regime (fishing days) instead of a regime based on catch management  (reference tonnage), which is better aligned with Kiribati’s domestic legislation and in line with the way the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)  manages its purse seine tropical tuna fisheries.  

The protocol allows Union purse seiners to fish up to 160 days each year. They can buy more days only when it is scientifically proven that the tuna stocks can handle more fishing. The protocol also has rules in place to closely monitor and control the fishing activities. The authorities of Kiribati in particular will ensure that the fishing days made available to the Union vessels are strictly monitored, to ensure that Kiribati’s effort limits declared under the WCPFC are duly respected.

Main features of the SFPA

Duration of the agreement

6 years renewable

Duration of the protocol

5 years (2.10.2023 – 1.10.2028)

Nature of the FPA

Tuna fisheries partnership agreement 

Financial contribution

€760,000/year out of which €400,000/year has been earmarked for the support of the Kiribati sectoral fisheries policy.

Fee for ship owners

A fishing authorisation shall be issued upon payment of the following amounts to Kiribati, for each EU vessel

  • an annual advance payment fee of USD 720,000 which gives the right to to fish for 40 days in the Kiribati fishing areas
  • an annual payment for observers fees of USD 3,000
  • a payment for registration fees of USD 3,000

Moreover, additional premium payments of USD 1,000 for each fishing day are due if fishing operations are carried out in the Phoenix or in the Gilbert Areas.  

If available, operators may purchase fishing days additional to those purchased upon the request by the Union competent authority to the Kiribati competent authority. The Kiribati competent authority shall inform the Union competent authority about the agreed number and the price of these additional fishing days.

Fishing possibilities



Tuna seiners 3 1 - 4


The first fisheries agreement concluded between the EU and Kiribati dates back from 2003. It was the first fisheries agreement to be negotiated in the Pacific.