Time for Mexico to stop swimming around dolphin-safe tuna label dispute

On Friday, November 4, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and five other major environmental and animal welfare groups submitted a joint letter to President Obama and Vice President Biden urging them to take diplomatic steps with the Mexican government to ensure it meets its responsibilities under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with respect to the U.S. Dolphin Safe tuna label dispute.

For more than 20 years, Mexico has been dragging its feet on this issue. We can no longer afford to sit idly by as a handful of tuna millionaires continue to profit from these immoral practices – the time is now for Mexican President Felipe Calderón to act.

If we fail to reach a timely resolution in this dispute, not only will the integrity of the U.S. Dolphin Safe label be threatened, but the rights of U.S. consumers to unbiased information about the safety of dolphins will also be compromised. Most importantly, countless numbers of innocent dolphins will perish as a result of these unsafe fishing practices. The Dolphin Safe label program helped reduce dolphin deaths in tuna nets from an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 annually in the late 1980’s to fewer than 2,000 in 2010.

The North American Leader’s Summit being held in Hawaii next week provides the perfect platform for a discussion with President Calderón and an opportunity to urge the Mexican government to adhere to the plain language of NAFTA, ultimately ensuring that the Dolphin Safe label initiative—one of the most successful environmental consumer education programs in history—remains intact.

--JF

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