English | Español


Earth Island Activities in Europe

Earth Island Institute—the economically self-interested faux environmental group based in Berkley, CA—does not limit its activities of intimidation and deception to the United States. In fact, its direct European subsidiary Friend of the Sea has long bullied European wholesalers and importers to buy into its pay-for-play labeling scheme instead of relying on credible, honest and scientifically-based labels such as MSC and AIDCP. In October 2014, Earth Island—under the guise of its International Marine Mammal Project—sent an “alert” to their list of so-called “dolphin safe tuna companies” claiming that “significant amounts of tuna are being imported into Europe [and that] import documentation indicates that this tuna comes from tuna companies that are catching tuna by the intentional chasing, harassing, netting, and killing of dolphins.” This is yet another desperate attempt by Earth Island to defend, at all costs, its pay-for-play labeling scheme.

To download the International Marine Mammal Project alert, please click here.

Here are the facts:

Claim: “In truth, the products only meet the weak standards of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), which allows chasing, netting, harassing and killing up to 5,000 dolphins annually in pursuit of tuna.”

Fact: The Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP) and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) are widely recognized for their success, has achieved dramatic reductions in fishery-related dolphin mortalities and continues to ensure the sustainable management of the Eastern Tropical Pacific tuna fishery under the IATTC. Among other recognitions, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recognized the “unqualified success” of the AIDCP, and awarded it the Margarita Lizárraga award in recognition of its “comprehensive, sustainable and catalytic initiatives” in support of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

Claim: “In addition to the reported kill, the US National Marine Fisheries Service has documented that there is a large ‘cryptic’ kill not included in the mortality estimates (the IATTC ignores this mortality), caused by the separation of dependent baby dolphins from their mothers during the chase phase of the' process.”

Fact: The fact is that none of this speculation is documented or proven and, in fact, suggestions that so-called "cryptic kill" is a significant factor strains scientific credibility. Groups like Earth Island essentially claim that cryptic mortality is more than 200 times higher than the actual mortality observed through 100 percent on-board independent scientific observer coverage. At the same time, Earth Island asks us to believe their claims that 97 percent of the tuna in the U.S. market is “dolphin-safe” when it comes from non-ETP fisheries with little or no observer coverage that result in more than 40,000 dolphin deaths per year.

Claim: “If your company has imported such product we would request an opportunity to review such purchases with you to ensure that they comply with our international Dolphin Safe standards.”

Fact: Earth Island has no standard. They have never required independent observers aboard any of the vessels outside the Eastern Topical Pacific – a fishery that already uses 100 percent independent scientific verification under the AIDCP. The reality is that Earth Island’s only goal is to continue to perpetuate and profit off of its deceptive labeling scheme. For more than 20 years, the so-called “dolphin-safe” business has been extremely lucrative for Earth Island, despite promoting harmful fishing practices (such as FAD fishing). And they go to extreme lengths to protect its label’s authority without credibility. The alert is merely a blatant attempt to keep the money flowing to its coffers.

The sad reality is that as Earth Island is coming under increasing scrutiny by credible environmental organizations in the United States and customers are beginning to realize that their so-called “dolphin-safe” label is both deceptive and fraudulent, they are exporting their bullying tactics overseas in a desperate attempt to continue to profit off of their labeling scheme. We will continue to keep a watchful eye on their activities in Europe and around the world and report back to you.


About The Truth Squad

Welcome to the Tuna Truth Squad. For too long, profit-hungry special interest groups have distorted the truth and ignored the mounting evidence that current tuna fishing practices harm our marine ecosystem. Consumers want and deserve sustainably caught tuna. For that they need the facts. We will use this page to bust the latest myths coming from special interest groups profiting off the deceptive "dolphin-safe" labeling scheme. You can help us promote eco-safe tuna by staying on top of the latest information. Know of something that smells fishy? Let us know about it. We will look into it and report back with the facts.