The program which started in the early 90s, encompasses now more than 508 tuna companies, brokers, fishermen, and retail outlets in 70 countries.
All Dolphin-Safe companies commit to tuna fishing practices which to not encircle dolphins and reduce bycatch of turtles, albatross and sharks. Dolphins mortality in the Eastern Tropical Pacific has consequently decreased by 98 per cent since the launching of the program.
Tuna companies have to be Dolphin-Safe approved by the EII in order to apply for Friend of the Sea certification. 20 tuna fisheries and fleets have been approved Friend of the Sea and over 60 companies have products certified. 375 tuna vessels have been approved friend of the Sea worldwide.
For decades, the EII and Friend of the Sea have made companies aware of the issues related to unsustainable fishing practices and they have lead producers to reduce their environmental impact on marine mammals and the marine ecosystem in general.
“The Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin-Safe project” explains Paolo Bray (Director of Friend of the Sea and European Coordinator of Dolphin-Safe programme), “has been the precursor project of the sustainable seafood movement. When the EII started the Monitoring Programme, 30 years ago, 'sustainability' was an almost unknown word in the industry.”
“Verifying the dolphin-safe operations of tuna companies around the world,” comments David C. Phillips, Executive Director of Earth Island Institute, “has been instrumental for the protection of dolphins and other marine lives as well as providing consumers’ confidence in tuna products. The Earth Island Institute fully supports Friend of the Sea and invites Dolphin-Safe companies to join the programme.”