Earth Island Institute & the International Marine Mammal Project


Department of Commerce “Dolphin-Safe” Label

logo: dolphin leaps left -- do not buy tuna that carries this label!



Earth Island Institute wishes to warn consumers about the label sponsored by the Bush Administration's U.S. Department of Commerce that falsely purports to protect dolphins. The US Commerce Dept. has opposed the Dolphin Safe tuna policy of Earth Island Institute.

The US Commerce Dept. supports chasing and netting dolphins, in order to catch the tuna which swim beneath. More than 7 million dolphins have died due to tuna fishing using this method. The Commerce Dept. has released an official “dolphin safe” mark for tuna labels which threatens the current Dolphin Safe standards for tuna and promises to mislead consumers. Earth Island Institute and eight other environmental and animal welfare organizations are suing the Commerce Dept. over the deceptive Dolphin Safe standards. This logo (see illustration) is therefore misleading and does not result in protection of dolphins. In order to avoid consumer confusion, Earth Island urges consumers to avoid buying any tuna in the US that carries this logo.

To date, only one company has been found using this label. In that case, the tuna company, when told by Earth Island of the problem, agreed to drop the label and sign a Dolphin Safe policy with Earth Island.

However, we are concerned that this phony Dolphin Safe logo may turn up on other brands of tuna in the US.

Consumers can ensure the protection of dolphins by looking for tuna sold by the companies that have pledged to buy only truly “dolphin safe” tuna, i.e. tuna caught without chasing and netting of dolphins. These companies subscribe to independent monitoring of their activities to ensure that their tuna is caught without any harm or harassment to dolphins.


(1) Alert Earth Island:

If you see US Commerce logo on canned tuna for sale in the U.S., please contact Earth Island Institute with the NAME BRAND OF THE TUNA, the NAME and ADDRESS of the store where it is for sale, and the DATE. (See contact information below.) If you can, purchase a can and send the can or the label alone to Earth Island, with your receipt showing name and address of the store and the date.

(2) Talk to the Store Owner or Manager:

You can tell them that the US government label is misleading and can lead to tuna caught by methods that harm and kill thousands of dolphins annually. They should take it off their shelves and not sell it. If you can, please get the NAME and ADDRESS of the distributor who sold the tuna to the market or store.

If the store owners or managers are interested in selling true Dolphin Safe tuna in their stores, you can direct them to our website, which includes listings of more than 300 tuna companies that catch and process tuna without chasing, netting or harming dolphins:

Please contact us with any questions. Thank you for your help!

International Marine Mammal Project
is a project of Earth Island Institute.

2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704 USA
(510) 859-9146 · FAX: (510) 859-9093
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