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 setting of nets on dolphins. More than 90 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 around the world covering more than 500 companies, to ensure that tuna is caught without chasing or netting of dolphins. Dolphin deaths in tuna nets have declined by 99 percent.
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. Earth Island Institute is fighting to prevent that from happening. Earth Island Istitute is also active in stopping bycatch of non-target species in tuna nets and in stopping fishermen from killing dolphins for shark bait.
Mark J. Palmer, December 2016
Will the Trump Administration uphold the U.S. position at the World Trade Organization against Mexico’s challenge to the Dolphin Safe label? Given Trump’s general antipathy to trade agreements, we believe he may do so. One good step has already occurred – the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal that would have undermined U.S. environmental, labor, and health laws, is reportedly dead.
International Marine Mammal Project Staff
Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) and the dolphins and whales of the world have lost a dear friend and colleague, with the passing of Mark Berman on May 13th.
We at IMMP and so many environmentalists and animal welfare advocates are devastated by the news. Mark Berman had been an integral part of our Earth Island and IMMP family for more than 25 years, and we will all sorely miss his friendship and dedication.
Check here for the latest approved Dolphin Safe companies, updated monthly.Check List Here
IMMP revolutionized the world tuna industry – saving an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 dolphins every year.Read more
Check here for the latest approved Dolphin Safe importers, brokers, and retailers.Check List Here