Earth Island Institute & the International Marine Mammal Project

Dolphin Safe Tuna


Food Lion Suspends All Purchase of Tuna from Mexican Dolphin-Deadly Brand

David Phillips
(415) 788-3666 x145
cell (415) 713-1674

Mark Berman
(415) 788-3666 x146

San Francisco, California: Earth Island Institute's International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) announced today that Food Lion LLC, based in Salisbury, North Carolina, has agreed to immediately cease all purchases from Dolores Tuna, packed by PINSA of Mexico.

The suspension was the result of documentation provided by Earth Island that the tuna is caught by the intentional chasing and capture of dolphins.

Food Lion's letter to Earth Island states that: "Food Lion has decided to cease purchasing canned tuna products unless and until such time as the manufacturer receives the 'dolphin-safe' certification".

"Time and time again consumers have made it clear that they do not want to buy tuna caught by the cruel capture and killing of dolphins," stated David Phillips, Director of the International Marine Mammal Project. He continued: "Dolores Tuna is a product of the largest dolphin-killing tuna company in the world. We're pleased that Food Lion has recognized that the tuna products they sell should not contribute to the dolphin slaughter."

In the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) off Mexico and Latin America, dolphins swim with schools of tuna. Fishermen chase and net the dolphins on the surface, knowing that tuna are swimming below. More than 7 million dolphins have been killed in the tuna fishery since the late 1950's when the large purse seine nets were first introduced.

Phillips continued: "Dolores Tuna has tried various tricks to get their dolphin-deadly product onto US supermarket shelves. They tried using a dolphin-safe label until such illegal shipments were blocked by the US Customs Agency. Now they have tried to use a phony certification from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission that their tuna is dolphin-safe. US law does not accept the weak and unverified IATTC standard."

Dolphin populations in the ETP have failed to recover from the effects of continued chase, capture, and drowning of dolphins in the ETP. Furthermore, studies by scientists with the US National Marine Fisheries Service demonstrate that dolphins are dying in nets from physiological stress and injuries, factors which would also cause the deaths of dolphins after they have been released from the nets. Furthermore, baby dolphins are separated from their mothers during the chase by tuna boats. These deaths go unrecorded by onboard observers on the tuna vessels.

"By selling dolphin-deadly tuna from Mexico, Food Lion threatened to undermine the fine job being done by tuna companies and supermarkets in the US and around the world that adhere to strict Dolphin Safe standards. We are glad that Food Lion has done the right thing." Phillips added.

Phillips urged consumers to continue to report to Earth Island Institute about any Dolores or other suspect tuna being sold in US markets. For further information and alerts, consumers can check our website,

Earth Island Institute is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to protecting the diversity of life on Earth. The International Marine Mammal Project works to protect whales, dolphins and other marine mammals around the world.

Video Available: Broadcast quality video footage of the devastating effects of tuna nets on dolphins is available upon request.

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

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