Subject: Dolphin-Tuna (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Thu, 17 Apr 1997 14:08:05 -0400 (EDT)

J. Michael Williamson
   Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <>
   Associate Professor-Science
   Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215
voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256
fax:    617.734.8666, or 617.566.7369

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 97 11:37:00 GMT 
Subject: Dolphin-Tuna


 Associated Press Writer
   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Legislation that would weaken the
"dolphin-safe" label on cans of tuna was endorsed Wednesday by a
House committee and could be considered by the full House within
   In the Senate several members already have promised to use
parliamentary tactics, including a filibuster, to slow the
legislation down should it reach the floor.
   The proposal to lift the tuna import restrictions has divided
environmental groups, with some arguing it will lead to the killing
of thousands of dolphins in the eastern Pacific by fishermen who
use nets to catch tuna. Others say it will allow for broader
protection of the marine ecosystem and reduce the killing of other
fish and turtles caught in the nets.
   The bill, which cleared the House Resources Committee by voice
vote Wednesday, would end the import ban on yellowfin tuna caught
by using nets. Many environmentalists have criticized the use of
nets because fishermen often deliberately catch dolphins along with
the tuna.
   But supporters said the bill would ensure that Mexico and other
countries with large tuna fleets in the eastern Pacific take steps
to protect not only the dolphin but other marine life -- sea
turtles, small fish and other species -- now often killed during
tuna fishing. Dolphin often swim with tuna in the eastern Pacific.
   The legislation would allow tuna caught with nets to continue to
be sold with the "dolphin-free" label as long as it is certified
that no dolphins actually were found dead in the nets.
   Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of America said the issue
has been pushed by free-trade advocates and pressure from Mexico,
whose fishermen cannot send their fish into the U.S. market because
of the dolphin-safe import rule.
   Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., called the bill "a major setback
for American consumers that demand dolphin-safe tuna." Miller
offered an amendment that would have limited the number of dolphins
killed to 2,500, but the measure was defeated 12-28.
   Another proposal, offered by Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., that
would have allowed net-caught tuna to be imported, but without the
dolphin-safe label, was turned back by a 12-28 vote.
   The White House has endorsed the legislation, as have some
leading environmental groups, including Greenpeace, the Center for
Marine Conservation, the World Wildlife Fund and the Environmental
Defense Fund. They maintain that dolphin protection should be
pursued internationally.
   Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md., sponsor of the bill, maintains
dolphin are killed by nets in the eastern Pacific despite the U.S.
import ban, and the legislation would ensure fishermen comply with
a regional agreement that would afford greater protection to all
marine life.
   A similar bill was approved by the House last year, 316-118, but
died in the Senate, where opposition still is strong.
   The U.S. import ban has been credited for the dramatic decline
in dolphin deaths in recent years.