‘Dolphin-Safe’ Tuna Remains ‘Dolphin-Deadly’

Written by on July 15, 2013 in Fish, Policy & Ocean Law, Whales & Dolphins
What does that 'dolphin safe' label really tell you?

Canned tuna. Photo credit: Daniel Case.

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made a decision on the proposed changes to the dolphin-safe tuna label.

While NOAA and other supporters maintain that the regulations will protect dolphins and assure consumers that no dolphins were killed or harmed in the process, others feel that NOAA has failed.

Mark Robertson, President of Potomac Global with over 20 years of experience on the dolphin-safe tuna issue explained to MST that the final regulations fail to address the issue that consumers are being deceived.

The new regulations require the captain of the fishing vessel to certify that no dolphins were killed or harmed during the tuna harvest. However, self-certification is unreliable and nearly impossible to police. After all, what captain would actually admit to killing dolphins, putting his job at risk and making the whole harvest worthless? Without an independent observer on board, there will be no way to prove if dolphins were killed or not.

To learn more:

Dolphins still often get caught in tuna fishing nets.

Dolphins still often get caught in tuna fishing nets. Photo credit: NOAA.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. Nasih says:

    Here in Maldives our fishermen catch tuna one by one. They do this by hand line or pole and line. As dolphins are smart they just about never get hook on pole and line since they use no bait (only throw to get them frenzy feast). And on the hand line uses live bait and never have heard the dolphins take the line. So I guess our way of catching is clearly friendly to the dolphins.

  2. Emily says:

    Dolphins (and tuna) in the Maldives are lucky! Hand line and pole and line are two of the most sustainable fishing methods. Thanks for sharing!