The International Marine Mammal Project of the non-profit organization Earth Island Institute has worked assiduously for the protection of marine mammals for more than 40 years.
The recent film Seaspiracy falsely claims that the dolphin-safe tuna program is a conspiracy to benefit the global fisheries industries. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the dolphin-safe tuna program has provided and continues to provide massive benefits to dolphin populations around the world. Despite our efforts to provide documentation of this to the filmmakers, they chose instead to grossly distort and mischaracterize the program.
Tuna companies may place a dolphin-safe label on their products without charge so long as their tuna fishery practices comply with federal regulations that there be no capture, netting, injury, or death of dolphins. Companies that comply with the federal regulations and certain additional protective measures may use a licensed logo from the International Marine Mammal Project. Companies that use the licensed logo pay a licensing fee, the proceeds of which go solely to defraying the cost of monitoring their facilities to ensure full compliance with the strict dolphin protection standards.
David Phillips, director of the International Marine Mammal Project stated, “The dolphin-safe tuna program is responsible for the largest decline in dolphin deaths by tuna fishing vessels in history. Dolphin-kill levels have been reduced by more than 95 percent, preventing the indiscriminate slaughter of more than 100,000 dolphins every year.”
Phillips added, “While covering critical topics, Seaspiracy unfortunately does a disservice to a number of organizations that are doing critical work to protect oceans and marine life. It’s no surprise that the New York Times panned the film for entrapping interviewees with leading questions and getting lost in a sea of murky conspiratorial thinking.”
For further information on the International Marine Mammal Project’s Dolphin Safe program: