For more than 30 years, the International Marine Mammal Project has led the fight to protect dolphins, whales, and the ocean environment. We pioneered the “Dolphin Safe” tuna fishing standard, stopping the intentional chasing and netting of dolphins and preventing hundreds of thousands of dolphin deaths every year. We directed the historic rescue and release of the orca whale Keiko, made famous in the movie Free Willy. We are fighting to end the tragic slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, as featured in the Academy Award–winning movie The Cove. And we’re campaigning to stop all trade in live dolphins and end the captivity of whales and dolphins for circus performances.
We have achieved victories for marine mammals around the world and work to make the oceans safe for whales, dolphins, and marine life.
We are a proud project of the non-profit tax-deductible Earth Island Institute, and are headquartered in Berkeley, California USA.
THE INTERNATIONAL MARINE MAMMAL PROJECT TEAM
David Phillips, Executive Director
Biologist David Phillips serves as executive director of the Earth Island Institute, an international non-profit conservation organization founded by David R. Brower and headquartered in Berkeley, California. From 1978-1984, David was director of Wildlife Conservation for Friends of the Earth. In 1982, he co-founded Earth Island Institute, serving as co-executive director and specializing in international marine wildlife conservation. He directs the institute’s International Marine Mammal Project.
David has been a non-governmental representative to numerous international marine conventions, including the International Whaling Commission, and has testified before the US Congress on marine mammal protection, endangered species conservation, and the impacts of trade on the environment. His direction of the Institute was acknowledged by the United Nations Environment Programme, which granted their Leadership Award in honor of his efforts to protect dolphins from indiscriminate fishing techniques. The Earth Island's success in negotiating an agreement with the world’s largest tuna companies to adopt fully "dolphin-safe" policies was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the most significant environmental victories of the decade.
In 1995, David founded the Free Willy - Keiko Foundation, successfully overseeing a five-nation, $10 million international campaign accomplishing historic rescue, rehabilitation, and release of a captive orca whale to its native habitat in Iceland.
In 1995 David was awarded the Joseph Wood Krutch Medal by the Humane Society of the US for his efforts on behalf of marine mammals.
Mr. Phillips has been involved in the development and implementation of numerous pieces of legislation pertaining to marine conservation. These include the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act of 1990, the International Dolphin Conservation Act of 1992, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Mark J. Palmer, Associate Director
Mark J. Palmer focuses on protecting whales and dolphins, with emphasis on strategic planning, legislative advocacy, legal research, grassroots organizing, and media relations. He is also Director of Earth Island Institute’s Wildlife Alive Subproject, dedicated to protecting wildlife and wild places throughout California and the West.
Mark graduated with a BA in Zoology from the University of California at Berkeley, and spent two years of graduate work at San Francisco State University in the Department of Biology. While at UC Berkeley, Palmer founded and led the Endangered Species Committee of California.
Mark has since served as Regional Vice President for the Sierra Club for Northern California and Nevada; Chairman of the Sierra Club’s National Wildlife Committee; and Chairman of the Sierra Club’s Arctic Campaign Steering Committee, which successfully blocked oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations. He has been Executive Director of the Whale Center (1986-1990) and the Mountain Lion Foundation (1990-1995). His articles have appeared in Sierra Magazine, Pacific Discovery (now Wild California), USA Today, and Earth Island Journal. He has edited and contributed to several books, including Friends of the Earth Whale Manual, Cougar: The American Lion, and Behind the Dolphin Smile.
Mark has more than 40 years of experience lobbying in the California State Capitol in Sacramento and in the U.S. Congress in Washington DC on wildlife and wilderness issues, as well as international experience with the Japanese-American Environmental Conference, the International Whaling Commission, and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. He is editor of the daily newsletter ECO distributed at International Whaling Commission meetings. He was a consultant for the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, and appears in the Animal Planet serice Blood Dolphins.
Mark Berman, Associate Director
Mark Berman joined Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project in 1991. He previously led the successful campaign to halt construction of a large dolphinarium in South Carolina, and was instrumental in passage of a law in the state to ban the captivity of cetaceans. South Carolina is currently the only state with such a law in effect.
At Earth Island Institute, Mr. Berman directs the International Monitoring Program for Dolphin Safe tuna, supervising staff in 15 countries. He also was a founding staff member for the Free Willy Keiko Foundation in 1994 with David Phillips. Mark helped lead an unprecedented, five country program to rescue, rehabilitate, and release Keiko, the star orca whale from the hit movie Free Willy.
Mark also works with the European Dolphin Safe Monitoring Organization to promote and license the registered dolphin safe logo for the canned tuna processors, retailers and importers in the EU. In addition, Mark has recently worked on campaigns to end the drive fishery of dolphins in Japan, to halt the expansion of Ocean Adventure in the Philippines and the mass killing and capture of live wild dolphins in the Solomon Islands for export to marine parks worldwide.
Mary Jo Rice, Associate Director
Mary Jo Rice leads campaigns in the areas of educational outreach, volunteer and internship management, fundraising, event planning, grassroots organizing, and campaign planning and implementation.
She has extensive experience in the non-profit world as a professional teacher and innovative administrator. Mary Jo tailors educational programs to the needs of specific organizations and builds engaged grassroots communities, offering pro bono professionals and volunteers a place to utilize their talents to serve the mission.
Mary Jo is the former Executive Director of Seaflow, the California organization that publicized the dangers of ocean noise to marine life. She organized the North American Ocean Noise Coalition, bringing together more than a dozen national and regional environmental organizations to collaboratively address pressing ocean noise pollution issues.
A grassroots organizer for more than 25 years, Mary Jo assumes key roles in local campaigns for successful environmental candidates and ‘green’ initiatives. She led a major open space acquisition effort in Marin County, which won her the designation of “Environmental Hero” in Barry Spitz’s book, Open Spaces. For her successful leadership roles in various environmental campaigns, particularly in protecting ocean life, she received the 2006 Resource Conservation Award from the Sierra Club’s Marin Chapter.
Laura Bridgeman, Campaign and Communications Specialist
Laura has always been passionate about cetaceans and the natural world. Hailing from Ontario, Canada, where she obtained her degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Ottawa, she found her way to Earth Island in order to make significant contributions to the increasingly relevant dialogue about cetacean rights. She brings her many years of experience in environmental and animal rights activism to bear upon her work as Campaign and Communications Specialist. She develops and leads strategic campaigns, employs grassroots activism and maintains a social media and news networks. Laura is also the Executive Director of a new organization, Sonar (www.wearesonar.org), focusing on human understanding of who cetaceans are and development fo cetacean rights.
Paolo Bray. Dolphin Safe Monitoring, European Director, Italy
Paolo successfully started, developed and leads some of the most influential and widespread sustainable products certification schemes in the world. These include the Dolphin-Safe program of the International Marine Mammal Project at Earth Island Institute, the Friend of the Sea project (www.friendofthesea.org) for the certification and promotion of seafood from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and Friend of the Earth (www.friendoftheearth.org) for the certification of products from sustainable agriculture.
Paolo has served as European Director of the Dolphin Safe Monitoring Program since 1991.
More than 800 companies from 70 countries (including 450 tuna companies from 20 countries) rely on these certification programs to verify the sustainability of their origins, representing one of the largest joint networks of this kind.
Theresa 'Trixie' Concepcion. Dolphin Safe Monitoring, Director Asian Pacific, Philippines
Trixie graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology and took post-graduate courses in Environmental Science in the Philippines.
She has worked for Earth Island Institute since 1993. She now audits companies in nine countries for the Dolphin Safe program in the East Asia and South Pacific Regions.
In the Philippines, Trixie is widely recognized as an animal welfare and environmental advocate and has led several organizations that seek to protect the last remaining mangrove forests in the Philippines.
Lawrence Makili, Dolphin Protection – Solomon Islands
Lawrence Makili, who grew up in the Solomon Islands, has been working with Earth Island since 2003. In conjunction with Mark Berman, he has successfully led efforts to end the capture and sale of live wild dolphins from the Solomon Islands to aquariums around the world and has implemented Dolphin Safe fishing efforts by the local tuna canners and fishermen in the islands. He also successfully negotiated, over 4 years, a moratorium on the slaughter of dolphins for local consumption by several villages. One of the villages continues with this program, and Lawrence is helping them develop eco-tourism for the village with support from the Solomons’ government. His earlier activist efforts have centered on preventing over-cutting of tropical trees in the islands.
Angel Herrera-Ulloa, Dolphin Safe Monitoring – Latin American Director, Costa Rica
Dr. Herrara-Ulloa has a Masters degree in Natural Resource Management, an MBA (INCAE, Costa Rica), and a Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology (UNA, Costa Rica).
Since 1993, Angel has served as Latin American representative of the International Marine Mammal Program. He has authored more than 15 scientific articles and co-authored two books. He covers dolphin safe tuna monitoring in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panamá, Peru, and Uruguay.
Michael Reppy. Dolphin Spirit Project
Michael Reppy’s years sailing the oceans deepened his natural love of dolphins, which led him to join Earth Island’s “Save The Dolphins Project” during the 1990s campaign for Dolphin Safe tuna. He has used his ocean racing yachts as a platform to support EII’s Save Japan Dolphins effort to end the slaughter and captures of dolphins in Taiji, Japan; and Free Corky, to return the orca from SeaWorld to her native waters in British Columbia. Sailing in support of Save Japan Dolphins, he made three attempts to break the solo sailing record from San Francisco to Tokyo, just missing the record by a day on his third attempt in 2001.
Michael has been an integral part of many demonstrations, such as Redwood Summer, the WTO “Battle In Seattle”, protests against SeaWorld’s captivity of Orcas, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s animal captivity, Japan Dolphin Day protests outside the Japanese Consult in San Francisco, and protests at the Russian Consulate to stop their orca captures. He often brings Earth Island’s big 20’ inflatable dolphin, and a pod of foam dolphin hats for maximal visual impact. He recently attended the California Coastal Commission hearing, and spoke against SeaWorld’s plan to build larger tanks for their orcas, favoring an end to orca captivity and breeding, and retirement of the orcas to seaside sanctuaries.
Ulrike Kirsch, Dolphin Safe Monitoring Director, Germany
Ulrike holds BA degrees in translation/modern languages and political studies from the Cologne University of Applied Sciences in Germany and Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK, and has worked as a freelance translator, journalist, and project manager in nature conservation and animal welfare for many years.
Since 1998, Ulrike has been working for the German non-profit NGO Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine (Society for Dolphin Conservation) where she is in charge of the International Dolphin Safe Monitoring Program in Germany. Her activities include quarterly inspections of the tuna purchase reports provided by the German member companies; audits for new companies; serving as a contact person for any inquiries from companies, consumers, and the media; monitoring the tuna in German supermarkets; consumer education; and maintenance and regular update of GRD’s website on Dolphin Safe tuna.
Ulrike also directs GRD’s core project “Save the last Adriatic Dolphins” in Croatia. Additional areas of her work at GRD include public relations, awareness-raising campaigns, social media, and translations.
She is a member of GRD’s Board of Directors as well as a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of the German Foundation for Marine Conservation (Deutsche Stiftung Meeresschutz).
Jacqueline Sauzier, Dolphin Safe Monitoring Director, Indian Ocean/Africa, Mauritius
Jacqueline has worked for the International Marine Mammal Project Dolphin-safe campaign for more than 25 years and heads the office in Mauritius.
She is responsible of the area covering the Indian Ocean and Africa from India to Ivory Coast, monitoring around 50 companies based in Mauritius, Reunion Island, Seychelles, India, Oman, Madagascar, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast.
Jacqueline is involved with many local NGOs including the Mauritius Marine Conservation Society, playing a key role in the protection of the local marine environment, with a special attention to the protection of marine mammals around the island heavily impacted by the growing dolphin and whale watching industry.
Walter Anzer, Advisor, Dolphin Safe Logo/Licensing, United Kingdom
Walter Anzer has decades of experience working in managerial positions in leading food companies and as the administrative director of many Trade Associations covering many sectors of the Food Industry. In recognition of his services to the Food Industry he was conferred the Order of a Member of the British Empire 31st December 1991.
Since 1993 he has been an Advisor to Earth Island on matters concerning the International Marine Mammal Program, and Director of the European Dolphin Safe Monitoring Organization, which has responsibility for the registration and licensing of its ‘dolphin safe’ logo, a Trade Mark, and European Union fisheries Policy relevant to tuna fishing and the Dolphin Safe Monitoring Program.
Homer T. Tuquib, Dolphin Safe Monitoring, Philippines
Homer graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce. He has been a fulltime observer for EII’s International Vessel Monitoring Program in the Philippines since 2009.
He is also an outdoor enthusiast, biker, and mountaineer and a member of the Earth Island Institute Philippines Outdoor Club initiating outdoor activities to raise awareness about environmental protection.
Edwin C. “Weng” Castillo , Dolphin Safe Monitoring - Philippines
Weng has worked at for Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project in the Philippines office for nearly 15 years.
Upon getting his Sociology degree, Weng began work at a non-governmental organization (NGO) supporting the indigenous people of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines.
Weng is highly experienced in company audits and on-board Dolphin Safe monitoring and works to promote environmental awareness in the fishing industry and advocating for the full protection of marine mammals.
Carlito Flores, Dolphin Safe Monitoring, Philippines
Carlito graduated with a degree in Fisheries Technology majoring in Capture Fisheries.
He worked with the Earth Island INstitute Vessel Monitoring Program from 1994-1996 and has since served as fulltime Port and Cannery Monitor/Auditor from 1996 to the present, covering fisheries operations in Zamboanga and General Santos City for the Dolphin Safe Program in the Philippines.
Donald 'Bongbong' Sanz, Dolphin Safe Monitoring, Philippines
Donald graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Bongbong is one of the founding members of the Earth Island Institute Philippines Outdoor Club that initiates fun outdoor activities to raise awareness on the environment.
Bongbong has been a full-time observer for Earth Island Institute's Vessel Monitoring Program (VMP) since 2009. He is a biker, mountaineer and overall outdoor enthusiast.
Miguel Machete, Dolphin Safe Monitoring, Azores
Miguel is the Executive Council coordinator of POPA, which is the observer program for the tuna fisheries of the Azores.
This pioneering fisheries observer program came from an agreement between Earth Island Institute, the Azores Regional Administration, the Tuna Canning Industry Association (, the Fishing Boat Owners Association and IMAR – Instituto do Mar - through the University of The Azores Center. Until 2003 the Programme was supported by regional funds. Between 2003 and 2005 it became co-financed by the European Commission. Since then it has been supported entirely by the regional government through the Regional Secretary of Fisheries.
The Azores Fisheries Observer Programme continues to ensure that there is now dolphin mortality or injury in the Azores tuna fishery. Fishery and fishing products are also certified by Friend of the Sea for sustainability. It became the first tuna fishery in the world achieving that certification.
Indra Poernomo, Dolphin Safe Monitoring - Indonesia
Indra has covered Indonesia for Dolphin Safe Tuna Monitoring Program - Earth Island Institute Asia Pacific since 2014.
Before joining Earth Island Institute Indra helped and worked with Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Center and also volunteered for investigation activities and animal rescue. Indra received a Bachelor of Marine Science from Hasanuddin University in Indonesia.
In 2005, Indra received a Fellowship on Narrative Journalism from the Eka Tjipta Foundation, producing a report 'From Tigers to Coucangs, the story about the arrest of a wildlife trader in Jakarta.'
Jose Carlos Castro Neila, Dolphin Safe Monitoring - Spain
Carlos serves as assistant to the General Director of Anfaco, the oldest industry association in Spain offering technical support to the canning and seafood industry.
For more than 10 years, Carlos has advised and provided assistance to the Earth Island INstitute's International Marine Mammal Project Dolphin Safe Tuna Monitoring Program, distributing alerts to the companies, coordinating new applications for certification and providing assistance in auditing and other activities carried out by Earth Island mainly in the Galician and Northern Spain, where most of the tuna companies in Spain are located.