Menu ☰

MSC Seafood Label Greenwashes Dolphin-Killing Tuna Industry

| International Marine Mammal Project
Topics: Cetacean Habitat, Dolphin Safe Tuna, Dolphins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE               AUGUST 7, 2017



David Phillips: ,  (415) 713 1674

Mark J Palmer:, (510) 859 9139 / (707) 553 1720


The Marine Stewardship Council “eco”-certifies dolphin-killing tuna fleets in defiance of World Wildlife Fund and other NGOs


Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) today condemned the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ruling clearing the way for granting an “eco” certification to the Mexican tuna industry that uses the fishing method of intentionally chasing and capturing dolphin pods in order to catch tuna.

Earth Island’s Executive Director David Phillips called it: “an appalling decision that rewards the senseless killing of thousands of dolphins every year and destroys the credibility and reputation of the MSC.”

He continued: “Giving an eco-label to canned tuna caught by intentional netting and killing dolphins is consumer fraud, an illegal deception and is a prime example of greenwashing.  Shame on the MSC. ” 

More than 7 million dolphins have been killed by this cruel fishing method since it was initiated in 1960.  This represents the largest marine mammal mortality associated with a fishing method in world history and has depleted at least two dolphin species to critically low levels.   More than 95% of the world canned tuna industry has renounced any purchase of tuna caught by this fishing method through IMMP’s Dolphin Safe tuna program. However, the Mexican tuna industry continues to use this practice of chasing and netting dolphins.

The MSC ruling comes after an adjudication hearing at which World Wildlife Fund formally objected and Earth Island Institute’s IMMP, the Humane Society International and others submitted documentation proving that the MSC was capriciously relying on false estimates of dolphin kill levels in order to allow certification of the fishery.

The environmental groups also claimed that the ruling violates MSC’s own rules.  Phillips stated:  “MSC’s own Certification Requirements specifically prohibit the targeting of any mammals by a certifiable fishery.  It is established fact that this fishery intentionally targets dolphins, and therefore the certification should have been disqualified immediately.”

Phillips continued:  “This decision violates MSC’s own mission to reward sustainable fishing practices.  Rewarding the single most dolphin-destructive fishing method in world history is unconscionable.”   

Earth Island Institute’s IMMP called on MSC to immediately reverse the eco-certification of this fishery.  Phillips stated:  “There is still time for MSC to reverse this cruel, inhumane, and wrongful ruling, and we urge them to do so.”


For more information on Dolphin Safe label:


Image credit Sam Labudde