Dolphinsafe Tuna

Dolphin-Safe Tuna? Tuna fishermen off the Pacific coast have been using dolphins in order to catch tuna. What occurs is fishermen set nets on specific dolphins, attempting to catch yellowfin tuna, which is found living in the same area as the dolphins. After trapping the dolphins, the fishermen simply pull them up onto the boat with the tuna and let them die. This procedure has killed nearly seven million dolphins since the 1950s. The extremely high death rate of dolphins caused the United States Congress to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act during the 1980s in order to suggest different ways of catching tuna. In 1990, the famous dolphin-safe tuna labeling was created.

Throughout the early 1990s America adopted new dolphin protection plans which made necessary that all tuna being imported here must follow the same guidelines as the United States in order to put an end to the harassment of dolphins. As these new laws were helping the dolphin population tremendously, the tuna-fishing businesses from other countries were losing buyers. In 1990, Mexico was embargoes from tuna shipment due to their ways in catching tuna. The soon-to-be World Trade Organization (WTO) demanded that the embargo be stopped, because according to the law, a country may not embargo a supply unless the supply itself is dangerous. In other words, if the tuna was dangerous they could embargo it, but if its catching were killing millions of dolphins, an embargo could not be made. Mexico and other Latin countries demanded that the Marine Mammal Protection Act be lightened so that these countries could sell their tuna under the label of dolphin safe.

After threats from the WTO, President Clintons administrators met with officers from Mexico in order to discuss the problem. A deal was made, called the Panama Declaration, which would put a limit on the number of dolphins a boat could catch, and lower the definition of dolphin-safe in order to allow the harming and catching of dolphins. Congress has been attempting to pass this Act, which has been called the Dolphin Death Act from observers. The Act would also claim that the tuna could be dolphin safe even if it did encircle dolphins just as long as observers from the boat claim that no dolphins were harmed or killed. The Act has been passed by the House or Representatives, but it was stopped before getting to the Senate.

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Even though the act has not made too much progress so far, it is believed that it will be passed in the near future. I believe this new Act trying to be passed is absolutely ridiculous. Not only does it supply enormous loop holes, but it is disrespectful to the dolphins. how can these fishermen live with themselves after watching the poor dolphins get caught and killed? Lets analyze the saying dolphin-safe. The first part is dolphin, the species which has been protected for nearly ten years.

The last part is safe, meaning secure, out of danger, above water, if you will. How can you say that the netting and capturing of the dolphins can qualify under the saying dolphin safe? There is a simple solution to saving the dolphins; keep the previous amendment by the MMPA. Studies show that even after the trapping was stopped dolphin populations were only slowly regaining strength. If we stop the protection of them now, we could be looking at the annihilation of many dolphin species. after that, how would the fishermen find their tuna? Their solution is not the most intelligent. If you are going to trap the dolphins, at least make sure they are safely returned.

We cannot be lazy and careless with living creatures. It is cruel and unusual punishment, and I for one will not stand for it. What I can do personally to help is write to the Presidential candidates and complain about what the Clinton administration has done. As hopeless as it may seem, if enough people voice their opinion, change can be made. Something else I can do personally is make sure that my family purchases brands of tuna from Bumblebee, StarKist, and Chicken of the Sea because these large companies have promised to stay true to the accurate definition of dolphin safe. Also there are web sites you can go to that have petitions for dolphin safety such at

There you can send an email to President Clinton to inform him of your opinion. This inhumane treatment of dolphins must be stopped. We can either save them or destroy them, and I am sickened to know that our own country worries more about money than a breath-taking species such as the dolphin. They should be free to swim in the ocean without fear of capturing. The choice is ours Science Essays.