Sunday, April 10, 2011

Canned dolphins


Tuna is one of the most consumed fish around the world, especially when it is canned. Just in United Kingdom in 2006, 700 million tuna tins were consumed. Very aggressive fishing methods are used to fish so many tuna, with little catching discrimination: it is estimated that one of every ten kilos of catch is not tuna but other species (turtles, sharks, dolphins, rays…) or too young tuna to be fished. 
Since the 80s, the association Greenpeace and the Earth Island Institute are fighting to raise public awareness about such aggressive fishing methods. As everybody comes to like dolphins, these awareness campaigns are quite successful and there are even stamps called Dolphin Safe depicting those companies which do not catch dolphins along with tuna, although there are certain doubts as for how to certify it. Moreover, these stamps do not mention turtles, sharks or rays, among others.
Although it is quite an interesting enterprise, this stamp is not enough to control the environmental impact of tuna fishing. We’d better control fishing methods and avoid unsustainable practices. But this is not enough: we should also reduce tuna consumption, as well as the rest of proteins of animal origin, if we want to be fed for long. In other words, it is not possible to base the diet of 7,000 million inhabitants on proteins of animal origin.

Sources:

  1. Greenpeace article of 2008 about tuna catch: http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/usa/press-center/reports4/canned-tuna-s-hidden-catch.pdf
  2. Dolphin Safe stamp: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolphin_safe_label
  3. List of companies per country with Dolphin Safe stamp: http://www.earthisland.org/dolphinSafeTuna/DolphinSafeCanners.html

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