Today Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and 21 other members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk, urging the Ambassador to include resolution of the ongoing dispute over dolphin-safe tuna labeling in upcoming negotiations with Mexico under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a multilateral forum made up of Pacific coast countries working toward a broad free trade agreement. The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently and incorrectly ruled that the U.S. dolphin-safe standards discriminate against Mexico.
"The WTO has proven itself incapable of grasping the importance of our dolphin-safe label, and Mexico has failed to see the bigger picture," said Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. "Moving this dispute into the TPP negotiations is a necessary and appropriate step to ensure that U.S. consumers know that when they are eating tuna, they aren't killing dolphins."
"Fishing on dolphins' is a technique used by Mexico and several other Central and South American countries by which dolphin schools are chased and encircled with nets in an effort to catch tuna swimming beneath. The practice has killed an estimated 7 million dolphins since the late 1950s, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. However, since Congress adopted the dolphin-safe labeling regime in 1990, dolphin deaths in the fishery have decreased from as many as 100,000 annually to fewer than 2,000 per year.