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 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 around the world covering more than 750 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, February 2017
Federal Judge Thelton Henderson recently announced, at the age of 83, that he was retiring from the bench. Since the late 1980’s, Judge Henderson repeatedly ruled in favor of dolphins in a series of landmark cases involving the US Dolphin Safe tuna statutes that were brought before him by Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project.
As a government investigator in the early 1960’s in the South, Henderson came face to face with the brutality and dangers of Jim Crow segregation. During this period, he famously loaned his government-issued car to Martin Luther King Jr., and was fired for it.
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