Skip to content
Grist home
Support nonprofit news

Articles by Mark Palmer

Mark J. Palmer is assistant director of the International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute.

Featured Article

The one-year anniversary of the death of environmental legend David Brower has come and gone, just a week after the U.S. Department of Justice decided not to appeal a dolphin protection lawsuit the Earth Island Institute filed with Dave back in 1999.

Dolphins on the run.

Photo: NOAA.

For reasons that are still unknown, a small portion of the world’s tuna swim with dolphins in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean. Ever since the late 1950s introduction of mile-long purse seine nets, fishing fleets have deliberately chased and netted dolphins in order to catch the tuna swimming beneath, resulting in the death of an estimated seven million dolphins over the past four decades.

In 1990, after several years of tuna boycotts and save-the-dolphins demonstrations, Earth Island Institute reached an agreement with U.S. tuna processing companies stating that all tuna caught and sold would henceforth be “dolphin-safe.” The dolphin-safe label on tuna cans in the United States and Europe means no dolphins were chased or netted during catch operations, nor were any killed or injured.

Read more