How does politics play in the conservation of species? Does this help? Who does it help? What can you do to help? ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Thu, 9 May 96 00:25:00 UTC 0000 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: House panel passes bill to cha House panel passes bill to change dolphin safeguards WASHINGTON (Reuter) - A House committee Wednesday passed a bill to allow imports of tuna caught in ways that do not kill more than 5,000 dolphin annually, easing U.S. barriers to imports of "dolphin-deadly" tuna. The House Resources Committee passed the bill that forged an unusual alliance of the Clinton administration and House Republicans, who said it was a way to put into law the voluntary efforts by Mexico and other Latin American countries to protect dolphin. The bill would label as "dolphin-safe" imports of tuna caught by vessels that encircle dolphins in order to net the tuna that often swim below the mammals in the eastern Pacific Ocean, as long as observers on board do not see dolphins killed in the operation. It would set an annual limit of 5,000 deaths of dolphins caught in nets in the eastern Pacific, where tuna and dolphins tend to swim together. Many Democrats and a number of environmental and wildlife groups said the bill would allow harrassment of dolphins that would cause stress and increase mortality, and was a sell out of environmental protection for trade interests with Mexico. The United States currently has a labeling law for cans of "dolphin safe" tuna, which means fish not caught in the huge nets that also may trap and drown dolphin. The U.S. tuna industry voluntarily imposed a purchasing ban on tuna from countries using nets deemed dangerous to dolphin. The Humane Society of the United States said the bill changes the meaning of the dolphin safe label, "eviscerates dolphin protection and betrays consumers." But wildlife advocates were split on the bill, with Greenpeace calling it the best way to broaden protections internationally and save more dolphins. "The environmental and animal welfare community have the same goal of protecting dolphins, we just have a tactical disagreement," said Gerry Leape, legislative director for ocean issues for Greenpeace, which backed the committee's bill. Other advocates, including the Center for Marine Conservation, have said the bill's enforcement, monitoring and incentive measures will result in declining dolphin deaths. The Senate is starting work on its bill, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, already has threatened to filibuster a bill similar to the House Resources committee's measure.