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Campaigns | Dolphin Safe Fishing | Marine Mammal Project
©Mehmet Oktay Kaya
Protecting Dolphins from Deadly Fishing Practices
©Mehmet Oktay Kaya
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Dolphin Safe Fishing

The Problem:  

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 7 million dolphins were killed by the purse-seine tuna fleets, the largest killing of marine mammals in history.

Our Action Campaign: 

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% 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 maintains the International Tuna 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%.

Current Challenges:  

Mexico, Venezuela, 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 US Congress to change US laws so they can falsely label their tuna, stained by the blood of dolphins, as Dolphin Safe.   Earth Island is fighting to prevent that from happening.  Earth Island is also active to stop bycatch of non-target species in tuna nets and to stop fishermen from killing dolphins for shark bait.

Making Sure Tuna is Dolphin Safe

Making Sure Tuna is Dolphin Safe

David Phillips, Int'l Marine Mammal Project, April, 2015

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Dolphin Safe label, which was established by Earth Island Institute's International Marine Mammal Project on Earth Day 1990.

In the late 1980’s, when Earth Island Institute started the campaign to end the deaths of dolphins in tuna nets, about 80,000 to 100,000 dolphins were being killed each year.  In 2012, the official count, based on international observers onboard tuna vessels, was 880 dolphins.

Time Magazine called our Dolphin Safe campaign one of the most important successes of the environmental movement that decade.

In the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP), an area that roughly lies from the southern coast of California to the northern coast of Peru, and out almost to Hawaii, yellowfin tuna often swim beneath pods of dolphins.  In the late 1950’s, fishermen began targeting the dolphins with spotter helicopters and airplanes, and chasing them down with speedboats.  Once exhausted, the speedboats keep the dolphins in a tight circle while the mother-ship comes up to deploy a purse seine net that is almost a mile long.

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Approved Dolphin Safe Tuna Processing and Fishing Companies

Approved Dolphin Safe Tuna Processing and Fishing Companies

Check here for the latest approved Dolphin Safe companies, updated monthly

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Read our 2014 Annual Report

Read our 2014 Annual Report

Welcome to our 2014 Annual Report for Earth Island’s International Monitoring Program for Dolphin Safe Tuna (IMP)

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Approved Dolphin Safe Importers, Brokers, and Retailers

Approved Dolphin Safe Importers, Brokers, and Retailers

Check here for the latest approved Dolphin Safe importers, brokers, and retailers

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Dolphin Safe Fishing on Social

Dolphin Safe Fishing News

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Tell Walmart to stop selling dolphin deadly tuna in Mexico and Costa Rica