A major problem in world fisheries is the involvement of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels, essentially pirate fishermen stealing fish from legitimate fishermen. The International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute has now added a ban on buying tuna from IUU vessels to tuna companies’ Dolphin Safe policies.
The new amendment to the Dolphin Safe policies reads:
“NAME OF TUNA COMPANY will not purchase or process any tuna caught by vessels that are listed by international tuna commissions as IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) vessels. Earth Island Institute reserves the right to confirm the legal status of such vessels to ensure that any change in vessel status are reflected in this policy.”
“The Earth Island Dolphin Safe policies involve much more than just dolphins,” notes David Phillips, Director of Earth Island’s IMMP. “Tuna companies that sign up for Earth Island’s Dolphin Safe monitoring effort also pledge to reduce bycatch, release sea turtles from nets, and other steps to ensure that the marine environment is protected from destructive fishing practices.
“The new IUU policy,” Phillips continued, “adds to our efforts to ensure that international fishing regulations that prevent pirate fishing operations will be adhered to by tuna companies that are part of our program. We have more than 350 companies worldwide, about 90% of the international canned tuna industry, that have pledged to adhere to our Dolphin Safe policy.”
Earth Island has monitors around the world who regularly inspect canneries and storage facilities and check tuna paperwork to insure that canned tuna with a Dolphin Safe label means the fish were caught by the best methods available, including no dolphins chased, netted or killed during fishing operations.