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Symposium 2009

Implementation - Earth Island Institute’s International Monitoring Program for Dolphin Safe Tuna (IMP)

The Challenge

Three quarters of the global marine fish stock are deemed fully exploited oroverfished. Declining or collapsing fish stocks imply not just the loss of economic benefits but also the loss of liveliho ...

Three quarters of the global marine fish stock are deemed fully exploited oroverfished. Declining or collapsing fish stocks imply not just the loss of economic benefits but also the loss of livelihood for many people in developing countries. The global challenge is to come up with management approaches to sustain global fish stocks in the future without withdrawing the basic food for developing countries in the present.

Earth Island's unique International Monitoring Program maintains twelve staff members in seven countries around the world, who regularly inspect tuna in canneries, at dockside, and aboard fishing vessels in order to insure consumers that the tuna they buy is truly “dolphin safe“. Earth Island’s monitoring program is one of the largest and most successful environmental monitoring programs in the world, encompassing more than 450 tuna companies, brokers, fishermen, and retail outlets in more than 65 countries.

Earth Island Institute’s International Monitoring Program for Dolphin Safe Tuna (IMP) The IMP agreements pledge tuna companies to abide by the Earth Island international “Dolphin Safe” tuna standards of no encirclement of dolphins or other marine mammals during an entire fishing trip, no accidental deaths or serious injuries of any dolphins, and no use of drift gill nets.

In order for tuna to be considered "Dolphin Safe", it must meet the following standards:

  1. no intentional chasing, netting or encirclement of dolphins during an entire tuna fishing trip;
  2. no use of drift gill nets to catch tuna;
  3. no accidental killing or serious injury to any dolphins during net sets;
  4. no mixing of dolphin-safe and dolphin-deadly tuna in individual boat wells (for accidental kill of dolphins), or in processing or storage facilities; and
  5. each trip in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) by vessels 400 gross tons and above must have an independent observer on board attesting to the compliance with points (1) through (4) above.

 

By agreement between Earth Island Institute and the participants in "Dolphin Safe" fishing operations:

  • All processing, storage, and transshipment facilities and procurement records related to the purchase, processing, storage, transport, and sale of tuna must be made available for independent monitoring.
  • Companies listed as "Dolphin Safe" must maintain "Dolphin Safe" policies approved by Earth Island Institute and apply them to all international aspects of their operations and related subsidiaries.

 

According to the 2011 Annual Report IMP also proceeds to the active inspection of procurement and sales records of tuna canneries around the world.  The program:

  • maintains consumer confidence globally in the verifiability and credibility of Dolphin Safe tuna;
  • ensures a level playing field for dolphin-safe companies and maximum protection for dolphins by publicizing and thereby discouraging the shipment of tuna caught by netting dolphins from entering world markets;
  • ensures that tuna caught by the netting of dolphins is not illegally labeled or imported into the US.  In seven successive US federal court rulings, Earth Island has prevented the deceptive labeling of canned tuna;
  • continues to add new approved canneries, fishing companies, retailers, and countries supplying tuna caught without chasing and netting dolphins;
  • secures and renews commitments from the world’s largest tuna canneries, companies, brokers, and retailers to maintain the strict original labeling standards of no encirclement of dolphins during an entire fishing trip;
  • closely monitors the status of dolphin populations to ensure continued reductions in dolphin mortality, and to promote fishing techniques that do not require the chase, netting, and mortality of dolphins and other marine mammals;
  • works with fishing fleets, government agencies and scientists to reduce by-catch of nontarget species and juvenile tuna;
  • the Earth Island IMP has been certified as being in compliance with ISO 9001 and 14001 international standards for management quality.

 

In 2011:

  • 471 Tuna Companies were verified Dolphin-safe by Earth Island Institute,
  • 67  countries had companies participating in Earth Island’s IMP
  • 493 inspections were carried out by Earth Islands monitors globally,
  • 17 tuna shipments and other incidents of nonconformance with International Dolphin Safe Tuna Standards and Earth Island procedures were targeted.

 

Source: http://www.earthisland.org/dolphinSafeTuna/

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