International Fisheries:

South Pacific Tuna Treaty (SPTT)

Treaty on Fisheries Between the Governments of Certain Pacific Island States and the Government of the United States of America

Les Hata, ©SPC

The SPTT entered into force in 1988. After an initial 5-year agreement, the SPTT was extended in 1993 and again in March 2002, when the Parties agreed to amend and extend the Treaty and to extend the related Economic Assistance Agreement between the United States and the members of the Pacific Islands Forum as represented by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) beyond the June 2003 expiration date, for a term of 10 years. The 2002 extension provides licenses for up to 40 U.S. purse seiners, with an option for 5 additional licenses reserved for joint venture arrangements, to fish for tuna in the EEZ's of the Pacific Island Parties. The extension also contains amendments to the Treaty and its annexes, such as updating the methods for reporting; a revised procedure for amending the annexes; the use of a vessel monitoring system (VMS); and fishing capacity, revenue sharing, and linkages between the Treaty and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention (WCPFC), among others. The current SPTT agreement expires on June 14, 2013.

The Parties to the Treaty all agree that it is working efficiently and has benefited all involved. It is viewed as a model of international and fishery cooperation. Issues that arise typically are addressed in formal annual consultations between U.S. Government and Pacific Island States representatives, or during informal discussions which also have taken place on an annual basis. The Department of State has specific authority to act for the United States.


Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia , Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States, and Vanuatu.


Click here for a map of the treaty area.

United States Administration

United States operational, administrative, and enforcement commitments under the SPTT are carried out by the NMFS. These responsibilities are implemented by the NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Administrator, located in Honolulu, Hawaii and by staff in Honolulu and Pago Pago, American Samoa.


The 22nd Annual Formal Consultation was held in Niue on March 8-12, 2010.

The next Formal Consultation will be held in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in March 2011.


For questions about U.S. participation please email us.