Subject: Tuna Fishing Nations Agree on (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Wed, 25 Feb 1998 09:30:16 -0500 (EST)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 98 13:38:00 GMT 
Subject: Tuna Fishing Nations Agree on

Tuna Fishing Nations Agree on Dolphin Protection Act

   WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Center for Marine
Conservation (CMC) today commended 12 tuna-fishing nations for
successfully negotiating an historic agreement to protect dolphins
and other marine life in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) tuna
fishery. The agreement was reached at the meeting of the Inter
American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in La Jolla on Saturday,
Feb. 8.
   "This marks the beginning of a new era of greater protection and
international cooperation on behalf of dolphins, other species, and
the marine ecosystem," said CMC President Roger E. McManus. "CMC
looks forward to the signing ceremony and the full implementation
and monitoring of this agreement."
   The agreement contains many provisions that CMC strongly supports,
   -- establishing measures to avoid, reduce, and minimize bycatch --
conserving tuna stocks and the tuna fishery
   -- effectively tracking tuna to differentiate between dolphin-safe
and unsafe tuna
   -- providing incentives to improve skipper performance -- enhancing
and strengthening compliance and enforcement, and
   -- providing greater protection and promoting the recovery of
individual dolphin stocks, especially those that are depleted.
   The adoption of this agreement is the culmination of a process
that began in 1995 when CMC called on the United States and other
tuna-fishing nations to develop a cooperative, international
management regime for the ETP tuna fishery that would enhance
protections for dolphins and other marine species, such as sharks,
endangered sea turtles, and billfish.  Center for Marine Conservation
worked closely with the U.S. and other governments of the tuna-fishing
nations, along with other conservation organizations, to develop the
Panama Declaration as well as U.S. implementing legislation adopted
by Congress in 1997.
   Under the Panama Declaration of October 1995, Belize, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Spain, the
United States, Vanuatu, and Venezuela agreed to work together to
strengthen dolphin protections rather than abandon the dolphin-saving
practices they had developed in order to meet the tough dolphin death
reduction targets set by the United States and the IATTC.  Dolphin
deaths in the ETP tuna fishery declined sharply from 100,000 animals
in 1989 to fewer than 2,600 in 1996.
   "Our analysis of the best available scientific data indicated
that, while the U.S. ban on the use of purse seine, or circle nets,
to catch tuna in the ETP resulted in fewer dolphin deaths, it was
also resulting in too many endangered sea turtle, sharks, billfish,
and juvenile tuna being killed," said CMC Marine Mammalogist Nina
Young.  "We realized that the best way to protect both dolphins and
other marine life was to shift from simply banning purse seine
fishing, to requiring the presence of independent observers on all
tuna vessels operating in the ETP and the use of proven
dolphin-saving measures. Under this agreement, fishers who fail to do
so risk being closed out of major tuna markets worldwide, including
the United States."
   "We are totally committed to enforcing the provisions of the
agreement," emphasized Ms. Young, who is on the Review Committee for
monitoring the agreement, "The true test of its implementation is the
reduction and eventual elimination of dolphin deaths over time and
the full implementation of the agreement by signatory nations." "Once
this agreement is implemented, the 'dolphin safe' label will be a
true guarantee to consumers that no dolphins died or were seriously
injured in catching tuna that bears the 'dolphin safe' label, and the
fishing practices used to catch that tuna are also ecosystem safe,"
said McManus.
   ------ The Center for Marine Conservation is the leading nonprofit
organization dedicated to the protection, research, advocacy, and
public education of marine conservation issues in the United States
and world-wide.  It seeks to protect ocean environments and conserve
the global diversity of marine life.  Established in 1972, CMC has
120,000 members.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Center for
Marine Conservation has regional offices in California, Florida, and