Changing Their Tuna
In other marine news, a new report released by the federal government has found that dolphin populations in the Pacific Ocean are failing to recover from years of tuna fishing, and that some 3,000 dolphins are still killed by tuna boats every year. The report, by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, contradicts earlier claims by the government, Mexican officials, and foreign fishing fleets that dolphin populations have benefited dramatically from changes in tuna fishing. In the past, tuna boats gained infamy for chasing down dolphins to locate the tuna that swim with them, a practice that led to the death of about 6 million dolphins from the 1950s forward. The new finding that dolphin populations have not yet recovered from those fishing practices could have implications for a battle between environmentalists, who fought hard for the “dolphin safe” tuna label, and the Commerce Department, which wants to weaken the meaning of that label in order to increase trade with Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and other countries.