Animal Writes
5 May 1999 Issue

Dolphin-Deadly Tuna
by [email protected]

On April 29, the Clinton administration made the phrase "dolphin safe"
meaningless. Processors and canners are now allowed to use the dolphin-
safe label on tuna caught in large, encircling nets that killed an estimated
eight million dolphins from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Fishing practices for tuna in the Eastern Pacific include intentionally targeting
schools of dolphins because large schools of tuna swim beneath them. Early
this decade, pressure from consumers resulted in the "dolphin safe" label and
the banning of encircling nets to catch tuna, which decreased dolphin deaths
by 97%.

The Commerce department has just said there was insufficient evidence to
prove that the use of encircling nets to catch tuna has a "significant adverse
impact" on the dolphin population. The annual death rate for dolphins killed by
tuna fishing dropped from 100,000 a year to fewer than 3000 a year after
encirclement was banned in the United States in 1990. This is not "significant"
to the Department of Commerce?

Not when big money is involved.

The Mexican government has been demanding for years that we import their
dolphin unsafe tuna, and argued that our failure to do so was in violation of
GATT, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and NAFTA, and the
North American Free Trade Agreement. For some time now, the governments
of Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela have been working with free-trade
advocates in the Clinton Administration and Congress to weaken U.S. dolphin
protection laws in order to sell their dolphin-deadly tuna in the United States.
Not only has the U.S. government bowed to those demands, they are trying to
deceive compassionate consumers by allowing the dolphin safe label to be
used on such products. Chasing, netting and killing dolphins is NOT "dolphin

The three major tuna processors have said they would continue using only
tuna caught by methods other than encirclement. Can we trust them? These
companies are:

Mr. Dennis Mussell, President
(Chicken of the Sea International)
Van Camp Seafood Co. Inc.
4510 Executive Drive, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92121
Fax: (619) 597-4282

Mr. Peter Bowen
President and CEO, Starkist Tuna
Starkist Foods, Inc.
One Riverfront Place
Newport, KY 41071
fax: 606-655-5888

Mr. Mark Koob
President, BumbleBee Seafoods, Inc.
3990 Ruffin Road
San Diego, CA 92123
fax: 619-715-4355

Boycotts of the past have made them fearful of losing consumers, and con-
cerned animal activists continue to let them know that a boycott could happen
again if they don't keep their strong, current standards for "dolphin safe" tuna
(no encirclement of dolphins with nets).

But why extend your compassion only to dolphins? Tuna are thinking creatures
with a desire to live as well. Don't allow the oceans and the forests to be
sacrificed for your diet. Go Vegetarian.


Go on to Helping the Animal Victims in Oklahoma
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