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.
For business inquiries about participation in, or to apply to, the Dolphin Safe Tuna program please contact the Program Manager, Sarah Elzea, at Sarah@earthisland.org.
Mark J. Palmer, June 2018
Friend of the Sea (FOS) has been developing ideas and policies for shipping companies to avoid striking whales. FOS is focused on setting standards for sustainable fisheries, but also includes new standards for whale watching and other activities to protect dolphins and whales.
Mark J. Palmer, April 2018
In 1990 Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project developed the Dolphin Safe label for canned tuna, now displayed (or adhered to) by more than 800 tuna companies in 76 countries around the world.
But what does “Dolphin Safe” mean when applied to tuna?
Check here for the latest approved Dolphin Safe companies, updated monthly.Check List Here
Click here to send a letter to MSC, telling them not to greenwash a dolphin-deadly fishing industry.Take Action
Check here for the latest approved Dolphin Safe importers, brokers, and retailers.Check List Here