Find Fisheries expertise in Nauru

Nauru is a small, single raised island with a land area of only 21 km2, with no continental shelf, but an extensive water area of about 320,000 km2. Fisheries play an important role in Nauru’s economy, especially with the depletion of phosphorus supplies and the difficulties of developing a commercial agriculture industry. While agriculture, forestry and fisheries combined provide 12% of Nauru’s GDP, the majority of that input comes from fishing; not as a local commercial industry but through the sales of fishing licenses. Nauru sells access to its extensive Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea as well as to countries participating in the South Pacific Tuna Treaty, such as Australia, New Zealand, and the US. Limited reef area and deep oceans surrounding the island limit the economic importance of a coastal fishing industry, however some subsistence fishing is done on an individual basis.

Nauru does not export any fish, but nearly all households (97%) in a 2007 survey were found to be engaged in fishing activities, which indicates that it is a crucial livelihood for the Nauru population.

The marine catch profile is 90% tuna consisting mainly (80%) of skipjack, 18% yellowfin, and two% bigeye. Other species included in the catch profile include blue marlin, wahoo, and various sharks.

The inland subsector is based around four depressions on the Nauru plateau, as well as a number of other water bodies (locally know as ponds) varying from 40 m2 to 10000 m2, the Anabar pond being the most significant. The majority of these ponds are inhabited by tilapias which are not popular locally. The aquaculture sub-sector was traditionally dominated by milkfish and farming was divided among families. The Mozambique tilapia was introduced in the 1960’s, but was not accepted as a food source due to its small size and poor flavour. However, Tilapia came to dominate most ponds.

Fisheries organisations in Nauru
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources