US tuna companies facing class-action lawsuits over “Dolphin-Safe” claims
In the midst of dealing with numerous price-fixing lawsuits, Bumble Bee Foods, Chicken of the Sea, and StarKist now face class-action complaints over the “Dolphin-Safe” claims on their tuna products.
While these companies claim that their products are “Dolphin-Safe,” that is not the case, according to the racketeering and fraud complaints filed in US Courts.
The “Dolphin-Safe” label signifies that no dolphins were killed or seriously injured as a result of the catching of the tuna contained in their products. But the suppliers’ tuna fishing practices “kill or harm substantial numbers of dolphins each year,” the lawsuits claim.
And, because the defendants do not adequately trace or otherwise identify the tuna that is not ‘Dolphin-Safe’ and physically segregate and store it separately from any tuna that may be ‘Dolphin-Safe,’ the defendant may not label any of its products as ‘Dolphin-Safe.
So how do our NZ tuna catching companies fare. That is yet to be disclosed as some
are committed to protecting the dolphins and to adopt a dolphin-safe policy. But evidence suggest otherwise.
Something that is not taken into account when commercial fishing companies label their product with Dolphin on the can is that the Dolphin label is directly aimed at the consumers to give the impression that the consumer can feel good about eating that seafood .If it is found that the seafood company has misled the consumer about the sustainability or the level of bi-catch surrounding the Tuna product, then the seafood company is guilty of a " deliberate moral attack "on its own customers.
By expressing a commitment to sustainability, labeling its tuna products as dolphin-safe, labeling its tuna pouches as Marine Stewardship Council-certified, not tracking and reporting the number of dolphins killed and harmed in capturing its tuna, and not separating tuna that is not dolphin-safe from tuna caught where no dolphins were harmed (if any), these companies are able to sell their tuna products to overseas markets and major retail stores to which it would otherwise be denied entry.
Even when dolphins are mistakenly caught by the longliners, they are often not released.
Rather, the fishermen that catch these dolphins often kill them onboard and have been photographed posing with their catch, mutilating the dolphins and removing their teeth, which can be used as currency. Because of the harm caused to non-target fish, longlines have been condemned by environmental group.
These vessels employ modern purse-seine fishing techniques that also harm substantial numbers of dolphins.
Many companies have conspired to hide the truth about their fishing practices and catches with other companies, which store their products and export them from bonded government warehouses where the public have no access.
Now our government through NIWA has concocted science that states that our Maui and Hectors dolphin are able to catch disease from cat excrement which washes into the seas down our streams and rivers.