Subject: Case Study: Dolphin Safe or "Dolphin Safe" tuna

Michael Williamson (
Sun, 9 Jun 1996 15:11:39 -0400 (EDT)

What is dolphin Safe?
What is fair to the dolphins? The fishermen? the public?
What choices would you make?  Why?


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 8 Jun 96 13:38:00 UTC 0000
Subject: Senate panel steps up dolphin

Senate panel steps up dolphin protections

    WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuter) - The Senate Commerce Committee
on Thursday passed a bill that would allow canned tuna to be
labeled "dolphin safe" as long as the tuna was netted in ways
that do not kill more than 5,000 dolphin annually.
     Supporters said the bill would reinforce cooperation by
Mexico and other Latin American nations to reduce the number of
dolphins drowned in nets used for tuna. In 1992, those countries
developed a voluntary programme that dramatically reduced
dolphin deaths even though they still encircle the dolphins to
net the tuna that swim below.
     Sen. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican and one of the bill's
sponsors, in a statement said fishermen have perfected the
encirclement fishing method, resulting in fewer than 5,000
dolphin deaths last year from tuna fishing. He said that is less
wasteful than huge bycatches of sharks, turtles and other
species from other fishing methods.
     The bill and a companion measure that cleared a House
committee was supported by the Clinton administration and some
environmental organisations including Greenpeace, who said it
would codify the informal agreements by Mexico and other Latin
American nations.
     But critics said it would allow vessels from countries that
sell tuna to the United States to chase, encircle and harass
dolphins that often swim above tuna in the Eastern Pacific. This
would lead to deaths that would not be detected by on-deck
monitors watching for direct dolphin kills.
     Naomie Rose, of the Humane Society of the United States,
said the committee's bill was fundamentally flawed because it
weakened the definition of "dolphin safe" labels that the U.S.
tuna industry voluntarily adopted.