Dolphin Safe Fishing



For decades, dolphins in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean were intentionally

chased and netted by tuna fishermen to catch the tuna that swim beneath dolphin

schools. More than seven million dolphins were killed by the purse-seine tuna fleets,

the largest killing of marine mammals in history.



In 1988, we provided the world with the first video footage of dolphins dying

in tuna nets. In 1990, we established the Dolphin Safe tuna program,

setting the worldwide standards to stop the chasing, killing and setting of nets

on dolphins. More than 95 percent of the world’s tuna companies are now

committed to Dolphin Safe fishing practices, and the Dolphin Safe label is now

on canned tuna in markets throughout the world. We maintain the International

Dolphin Safe Monitoring Program, with monitors covering more than 800 companies

in 76 countries around the world, to ensure that tuna is caught without chasing

or netting of dolphins. Dolphin deaths in tuna nets have declined

by 99 percent since 1990. 


Mexican, Venezuelan, and Colombian tuna fleets continue to chase,

net, and drown thousands of dolphins annually. Mexico is fighting to overturn

the Dolphin Safe tuna label, going to the World Trade Organization and the U.S.

Congress to change U.S. laws so they can falsely label their tuna—stained

by the blood of dolphins - as Dolphin Safe. And, to the surprise of many,

the Marine Stewardship Council falsely certified Mexican dolphin-deadly fisheries

as “sustainable". Earth Island Institute is working to address each

of these issues, as well as bycatch of non-target species in tuna nets

and in stopping fishermen from killing dolphins for shark bait.


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