For decades, dolphins in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean were intentionally chased and netted by tuna fishermen to catch the tuna that swim beneath dolphin schools. More than seven million dolphins were killed by the purse-seine tuna fleets, the largest killing of marine mammals in history.
In 1988, we provided the world with the first video footage of dolphins dying in tuna nets. In 1990, we established the Dolphin Safe tuna program, setting the worldwide standards to stop the chasing, killing and setting of nets on dolphins. More than 95 percent of the world’s tuna companies are now committed to Dolphin Safe fishing practices, and the Dolphin Safe label is now on canned tuna in markets throughout the world. We maintain the International Dolphin Safe Monitoring Program, with monitors covering more than 800 companies in 76 countries around the world, to ensure that tuna is caught without chasing or netting of dolphins. Dolphin deaths in tuna nets have declined by 99 percent since 1990.
Mexican, Venezuelan, and Colombian tuna fleets continue to chase, net, and drown thousands of dolphins annually. Mexico is fighting to overturn the Dolphin Safe tuna label, going to the World Trade Organization and the U.S. Congress to change U.S. laws so they can falsely label their tuna—stained by the blood of dolphins—as Dolphin Safe. And, to the surprise of many, the Marine Stewardship Council falsely certified Mexican dolphin-deadly fisheries as “sustainable". Earth Island Institute is working to address each of these issues, as well as bycatch of non-target species in tuna nets and in stopping fishermen from killing dolphins for shark bait.
Mark J. Palmer, January 2018
Here are five common myths we hear all the time about Dolphin Safe tuna.
Don’t be fooled! Many of these myths were started by the Mexican tuna industry and backed by the Mexican government and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). The Mexican industry and its government backers support chasing and netting dolphins in order to catch tuna, drowning and killing thousands of dolphins annually.
The Mexican tuna industry applied to the Marine Stewardship Council to gain MSC’s “sustainable fishery” seal to use on their products, indicating the tuna purse seine fishery is “sustainable.” But the fishery and MSC have glossed over the fact that the tuna fishery chases, nets, injures, and kills thousands of dolphins annually.
Tell the Marine Stewardship Council to abide by their mission and NOT to call dolphin-killing "sustainable" or "eco-friendly".
Check here for the latest approved Dolphin Safe companies, updated monthly.Check List Here
Click here to send a letter to Walmart executives and tell them to stop selling dolphin-deadly tuna in Costa Rica.Take Action
Check here for the latest approved Dolphin Safe importers, brokers, and retailers.Check List Here