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The Dolphin-Safe Checklist

Most of the canned tuna sold in the United States is not dolphin-safe according to either U.S. law or international standards and regulations. Instead, StarKist, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee fish and source tuna from oceans with little or no regulation or supervision and misleadingly market their products as absolutely “dolphin-safe” to American consumers.

The Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP), internationally regarded as the most highly monitored and verifiable fishery for tuna certified to have been caught without dolphin mortalities or injuries, has been successfully implemented in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) for 20 years. The AIDCP system uniquely requires 100% independent scientific observer coverage on-board all large fishing vessels and includes observer and government-verified segregation of dolphin-safe tuna from dolphin unsafe tuna from the moment it is captured through unloading, storage and processing. Observer reports of any alleged improprieties are reviewed regularly by the AIDCP International Review Panel, which proposes sanctions and follows up with governments to ensure full compliance. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) also adheres to similar standards.

Despite being a signatory to the AIDCP treaty, the United States does not implement its mandates, instead relying on the false "dolphin-safe" standards of the Earth Island Institute (EII). However, the so-called "monitoring" standards of the EII, "dolphin-safe" certifier for StarKist, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee, are in no way comparable to the robust and ironclad tracking and verification program of the AIDCP.

To help empower American consumers, the Campaign for Eco-Safe Tuna has developed a Dolphin-Safe Checklist to help conscientious consumers track for themselves the legitimacy of "dolphin-safe" tuna brands and make informed decisions on what tuna they buy.

In April 2013, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) proposed regulations to "improve" U.S. dolphin-safe standards for tuna fishing. However, the proposed regulations fail to create a sustainable, eco-safe approach to fishing for tuna. Rather the draft regulations would only perpetuate the deficient standards for tracking and verification requirements for alternative dolphin-safe labels like those of the EII, StarKist, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee.

They would continue to mislead consumers and shield from them the fact that tens of thousands of dolphins are killed each year in non-ETP tuna fisheries around the world, and that those tuna products are sold in the United States as "dolphin-safe." The draft regulations do nothing to correct the current consumer deception as to the true dolphin-safe status of tuna bearing the dolphin-safe label.


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.