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Save the Dolphin scam exposed by Coos County Commissioner John Griffith
posted to KBC 8/1/04
This was sent to me by the people who are tying to introduce wolves to Oregon.
I think it helps illuminate their values. I spent a lot of time investigating "dolphin-safe tuna" in the late 1990s, including a trip to San Diego to interview a retired tuna boat owner who invented fishing gear modifications in the 1970s to make the USA tuna seiner fleet in the Eastern Tropical Pacific almost entirely dolphin safe.
What the below ad shows is, among other things, that its creator is dishonestly political and shamless about bumming money.
1. The Bush Administration is following several attempts by the Clinton Administration to correct a law that hammers the environment worse in the name of dolphin safety.
2. The "dolphin-safe" law was found, at least twice, to be illegal by the GATT, and now the WTO court.
3. Almost no dolphins have been killed in the tuna seining fleet in the Eastern Tropical Pacific in years.
4. Alternative methods of fishing for yellowfin tuna create monstrous wasteage of bycatch including endangered sea turtles, sharks, unwanted fish and a huge discarded bycatch of undersize tuna.
5. The environmental horrors of these alternative forms of fishing are so offensive that World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace actually joined the effort to change "dolphin-safe tuna" back in the 1990s (Clinton Administration). The radical Earth Island Institute, which was making millions off the "dolphin-safe" scam with a "flipper seal of approval" marketing scam fought back to keep it, and has sued National Marine Fisheries Service as it's tried to fix the law. Earth Island Institute was also a major player in the "Free Willy, Keiko" the killer whale scam.
What EII and now it seems Defenders say they're concerned about is delayed mortality of dolphins that are encircled by purse seines. This is a sick joke. Tuna fishermen have effective ways to clear dolphins from the nets before the boats start bringing the fish aboard.
There was a time, in the 1960s and early 1970s when dolphin mortality was ugly. That led Harold Medina, of San Diego, to invent gear modifications and techniques to release the air-breathers. He explained to me in an interview in his house in 1999 that, besides liking to see dolphins and other sea creatures, tunamen needed the dolphins to show them where the tuna were. So they had a direct financial reason to want to protect the dolphins in their fishery.
Foreign flag vessels did not care for dolphin conservation as much as the US boats did, and some of their practices stayed pretty ugly after the US boats had switched over.
Then a freelance activist with a video camera hitched a ride on a Central American fishing boat, got footage of an incompetent crew with obsolete gear fishing dirty and killing dolphins, sold or gave the footage to Earth Island, and the first green marketing scam was born.
Congress passed a law in the early 1990s that tuna from nations that fish over dolphins cannot be imported to the US, unless the product was certified to have come from sources that didn't fish over dolphins. Earth Island developed a "seal of approval" that the product had not come from fishing over dolphins. It was no additional safety from what the feds were requiring, just a private licensing scheme that came at a hefty price.
This ad says a lot more, such as Defenders trying to soak the unwary out of $25 a pop to maintain a law that harms the environment, but we all get the point
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