Save the Dolphin-Safe Tuna Label!

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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

The WTO is attacking the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna label requirement, putting dolphins in harm's way.


Dolphin-safe tuna may be a thing of the past, thanks to the World Trade Organization (WTO) which has again ruled in favor of Mexico over the United States' strict regulations on fishing techniques that kill or put into harm's way innocent dolphins while fishing. According to the WTO's most recent ruling, the United States must either change its dolphin-safe labeling system or face $163 million is annual sanctions [1].

The dispute started with the United States' Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 [2], which prohibits imports of marine mammals. In 1990 the U.S. implemented the dolphin-safe label on tuna that meets its standards for fishing practices [3]. Mexican fisheries, however, still chase dolphins to find schools of tuna and then use drag nets that capture the dolphins along with the tuna.

Mexico says it is unfair that their tuna is being banned from having the dolphin-safe label just because they kill dolphins while catching the tuna [4]. The WTO actual agrees with Mexico. As a result, these innocent and intelligent mammals are being injured and killed so that Mexican fisheries can continue using unethical techniques instead of adopting environmentally safe standards.

Tell the World Trade Organization that it needs to reverse its decision, restore the validity of the dolphin-safe label, and stop catering to countries that use the lowest standards for fishing. Countries should be made to adopt environmentally safe standards or else lose their trade, instead of having countries practicing safe methods be punished.

We must protect these wonderful, intelligent mammals from slaughter! Let the WTO know that by making your voice heard. Sign the petition telling the World Trade Organization that if Mexico can't operate under standards which keep dolphins safe, then they should get out of the tuna fishing business!

MORE ABOUT THIS ISSUE

1. Kennedy, M. (2017, April 26). Mexico Can Seek Millions From U.S. In Dolphin-Safe Tuna Dispute, WTO Says. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/26/525701964/wto-says-mexico-can-seek-millions-from-u-s-in-dolphin-safe-tuna-dispute

2. NOAA Fisheries. (2013, June 14). Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Retrieved August 16, 2017, from http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/mmpa/

3. Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act. (2016, July 24). Retrieved August 16, 2017, from https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/statutes/dolphin-protection-consumer-information-act

4. NOAA Fisheries. (2016, September 02). The Tuna-Dolphin Issue. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from https://swfsc.noaa.gov/textblock.aspx?Division=PRD&ParentMenuId=228&id=1408

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The Petition:

World Trade Organization:

I am deeply troubled by the World Trade Organization's rulings to diminish the dolphin-safe tuna label and its standards, all to protect Mexican fisheries' outdated, unethical and unsustainable fishing techniques. The United States instituted the dolphin-safe label to protect the precious marine mammals from serious injury or death.

If Mexico, or any other nation, cannot or will not abide by the recognized standards of protecting dolphins while fishing for tuna, that country should face the natural and foreseeable trade losses to their industry. Their refusal or inability to catch tuna using environmentally sound techniques should not result in the lowering of international standards and sanctions against the United States.

Mexico says its fishing industry is hurt by being denied the dolphin-safe label, despite still using the banned fishing techniques, and the WTO continues to side with Mexico. First the WTO rulings forced the U.S. to drop "dolphin-safe" from a regulation to a voluntary label, and now they are imposing millions of dollars in sanctions annually.

U.S. and global consumers want to know that their tuna was caught using methods that protect dolphins from being harmed or killed. The WTO's decision that it is a "barrier to trade" for countries like Mexico to abandon their use of barbaric fishing methods or else have their tuna barred from the dolphin-safe label.

The United States has every right to set its own standards for imports, standards which protect marine mammals and foster sustainable fishing practices. To punish the United States with millions of dollars in annual sanctions because another country does not meet industry standards is absurd. To set international regulation based on that of the country with the lowest standards is farcical.

Stricter regulations mean fewer dolphin lives lost, better quality of tuna and higher confidence from consumers. When a nation like Mexico operates outside of those regulations and standards, they should get out of the tuna fishing business, not drag the global industry down to their substandard level.

I ask that the World Trade Organization immediately reverse its rulings against the United States and reinstate the validity and sanctity of the dolphin-safe tuna label. The United States' trade regulations were established to protect both dolphins and consumers.

We will continue to boycott unethically caught tuna until the dolphin-safe tuna actually means it is safe for dolphins. The World Trade Organization must reverse its rulings immediately.

Sincerely,

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Updates:

A recent ruling from the WTO said that the U.S. labeling is now in compliance with its standards after a unit of the U.S. Commerce Department tweaked its tuna-labeling laws last year. But Mexico's economy ministry said it would appeal the WTO's ruling! This fight isn't over! Sign below and show your support for dolphin-safe fishing practices and the label it represents!
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Signatures: