Posted by: The ocean update | March 23, 2016

US and Mexico at odds over dolphin-safe fishing rules

'Dolphin-Safe' label is visible on a can of tuna

‘Dolphin-Safe’ label is visible on a can of tuna. Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

March 23rd, 2016 (Diana Duel). The World Trade Organization is set to place sanctions against the United States as punishment for discriminating against tuna imported from Mexico. According to the group, the US was found guilty of employing harsher tracking and verification standards on tuna fishing from the Gulf of San Diego all the way to Peru, where the Mexican fleet of trawlers operate than on tuna boats in other locations. In addition, the American government has imposed harsher regulations regarding labeling tuna as “dolphin safe” on the rest of the world instead of relaxing its stand against its southern neighbor.

The labels are intended to ensure that all canned, dried and frozen tuna has been caught without trapping or killing dolphins. In addition, the new rules will require all international tuna boats to maintain more documentation and carry government observers. At the same time, captains will have to undergo training in dolphin-safe fishing.

Many commercial fishermen often use helicopters and speed boats to follow dolphins because they know that schools of tuna have a tendency to swim alongside the mammals. Some, then use nets to surround the dolphins to get at tuna below, and the dolphins end up as collateral damage.

According to marine mammal specialist Mark Palmer of the Earth Island Institute environmental group, the new rules shouldn’t be a major problem for big companies. However “for small fishing boats its is going to be a steep climb to get everyone into compliance,” he told the Associated Press.

As a result, of what it deems unfair fair rules, the Mexican government has announced plans to strike back by imposing $472 million in tax levies against importers of high fructose corn syrup from the US.

dolphin-in-net

Dolphins at the top of the purse seine. Credit : NOAA

Ed Sibylline : more information on the “dolphin-safe label”

‘Dolphin Safe’ Labels On Canned Tuna Are A Fraud (link)

NOAA Tracking Program Verifies Truth of “Dolphin-Safe” Label (link)

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