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“Earth Island Institute Has No Standard, It Has an Invoice Book” – Director of Papua New Guinea’s National Fisheries Authority

by Campaign for Eco-Safe Tuna
October 14, 2013

“Earth Island Institute Has No Standard, It Has an Invoice Book” – Director of Papua New Guinea’s National Fisheries Authority

While it is no secret that Earth Island is a faux environmental group of the worst kind, recently more and more groups that really care about sustainability are speaking out against the tuna industry’s biggest sham: Earth Island’s “dolphin-safe” label.

Last month, the Marine Stewardship Council harshly and accurately squashed any notion that Earth Island’s label compares to the MSC eco-label. Then, last week at the Solomon Island’s Pacific Tuna Forum, Earth Island spokesman Paolo Bray was exposed by an angry audience for lying about Earth Island and Friend of the Sea ’s monitoring program.

Bray, the European director for Earth Island and front man for its spinoff eco-entity Friend of the Sea, touted their requirement for on-board observers on affiliated vessels. Of course, Bray’s claim is entirely false and his lie sparked outrage among many in attendance.

Sylvester Pokajam, Managing Director of the PNG National Fisheries Authority, knows the PNG fisheries as well as anyone in the world and saw right through Bray’s bull. “I did not want to listen to all of the lies,” Pokajam later said. “I spoke on behalf of the public and said what you are saying is all lies, and he couldn’t say anything.” According to sources at the event, Pokajam had the backing from a majority of the audience, including PEW, Greenpeace and WWF, as he left the Earth Island representative incapable of response in the forum’s tensest moments.

Earth Island has never required independent observers aboard any vessel outside of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) – a fishery which already uses 100 percent independent verification under the AIDCP and does not acknowledge Earth Island as a legitimate organization in any part of the verification process. The PNA waters also maintain 100 percent observer coverage, but vessels do not report to Earth Island or Friend of the Sea.

So if it doesn’t verify dolphin safety with observers, just what is Earth Island’s standard for certification?

According to Pokajam:

"Earth Island has no standard, and therefore no observers monitoring operations. They have an invoice book and they go around issuing invoices to companies. The company pays, and therefore complies, that’s it.”

The reality is that Earth Island’s only goal is green. For more than 20 years, the “dolphin-safe” business has been extremely lucrative for Earth Island, despite its harmful practices. And the group goes to extreme lengths to protect its label’s authority, like earlier this year when Earth Island threatened to blacklist the eight PNA island nations and their industry for adopting the MSC eco-label for their fully verifiable purse seine fishery.

The lesson we should take away from Pokajam’s rebuff is that the more we speak out against Earth Island the closer we come to ending its manipulation of the global tuna markets and its complete deception against U.S. and global consumers. First MSC and now PNA government leaders – the world is finally starting to see important stakeholders in sustainable fishing stand up against the lies and “dolphin-safe” deception that form the foundation of the Earth Island/Friend of the Sea program of intimidation for cash.