Protect Ocean Wildlife and Keep Tuna Dolphin-Safe!

  • by: Defenders of Wildlife
  • recipient: Dr. William Hogarth, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS; Colin Powell, United States Secretary of State
The Dolphin-Safe Tuna Program and Ocean Wildlife Are Under Attack
The Bush Administration is trying to weaken the definition of the dolphin-safe label on tuna cans and pouches despite broad bipartisan public support for the program. The proposed changes to this successful program would allow tuna caught using the harmful practice of chasing and setting nets on dolphins to be labeled "dolphin-safe.” This policy has the potential to devastate dolphin populations, especially three dolphin populations in the Eastern Pacific -- the northeastern offshore spotted, the eastern spinner, and the coastal spotted – which have all seen their numbers plummet as a result of dolphin-deadly fishing practices.

Other Marine Wildlife Is In Jeopardy! Scientists worldwide recognize that large-scale industrial fishing techniques -- such as purse-seining, longlining, and drift-netting -- are devastating our oceans and the countless wildlife species that live within them. Dolphins, endangered sea turtles, sharks, sea birds and other marine wildlife are all falling victim to the nets and lines of tuna fishermen and the pressure of overfishing, especially in the Pacific Ocean. (Visit for more information)

Sea Turtles in Trouble: Sea turtles, abundant throughout the world's oceans for millennia, are being killed when they become entangled in fishing gear or caught as bycatch in fishing nets. All eight of the world's sea turtle species are now listed as threatened with extinction. Within the last decade, the Eastern Pacific populations of the critically endangered leatherback turtle have declined by 78%.

Sharks in Danger: Sharks, due to their low birth rate, slow maturation and growth patterns, and naturally small populations, are extremely vulnerable to pressures from fisheries and human exploitation. Pacific populations of Angel Sharks, Lemon Sharks, and Blue Sharks, to name a few, are all facing grave dangers from overfishing practices. (Visit for more information)

We need your help in convincing the Bush Administration to finally demonstrate leadership position on these issues at the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and elsewhere. We cannot sit by passively as our dolphin-safe tuna label is rendered meaningless and our ocean resources are destroyed by overfishing. Sign Now! Once you have signed, tell your friends about this imminent threat to these magnificent marine mammals!

Dear Dr. William Hogarth & Secretary Colin Powell:

I urge you to take action to protect the Pacific Oceans marine ecosystems by protecting the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna label & program. To truly protect dolphins in the Pacific it is necessary to protect the ecosystem in which they live. Rampant overfishing is adversely affecting dolphins, endangered sea turtles, sharks, sea birds and the fish species themselves. Yet, instead of decreasing fishing efforts, countries are doing the opposite. This trend spells disaster for the entire Pacific Ocean.

It is your responsibility to make sound choices that are in the interest of all Americans, including future generations. Taking the lead towards halting overfishing and destructive fishing practices in the Pacific fisheries would achieve this goal. This goes hand in hand with a responsible policy of using the dolphin-safe label only for tuna that is truly dolphin-safe (i.e., no chase or encirclement of dolphins).

The U.S. should not accept the refusal of some countries to comply with conservation measures or implement new needed measures. The United States has the tools to create international cooperation, including trade measures under the Pelly Amendment, to ensure that countries are taking the necessary precautions to conserve dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and other marine life.

Stop overfishing in the Pacific and protect the dolphin-safe tuna program to further protect dolphins and all other marine biodiversity in this important area.

The Undersigned

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