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Dolphins and the Tuna Industry

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This book presents key conclusions about the controversial killing of thousands of dolphins each year during tuna fishing in the eastern tropical Pacific.

Dolphins drown in nets that are set to catch yellowfin tuna, which tend to swim beneath dolphin herds. After 20 years of intense debate among environmentalists, the tuna industry, and policymakers, this fatal by-product of tuna fishing remains a high-profile public issue.

Dolphins and the Tuna Industry provides a neutral examination of the scientific and technical questions at the core of the problem. Recommendations for solutions are offered in two areas: Developing new techniques that promise to reduce dolphin mortality with the existing purse-seine method of tuna fishing, and developing entirely new methods of finding tuna that are not swimming with dolphins.

Dolphins and the Tuna Industry provides a comprehensive, highly readable overview of the dolphin-tuna controversy, useful to experts and newcomers to the issue. It explores the processes of tuna fishing and dolphin mortality, the status of the tuna industry, and the significant progress made in reducing dolphin mortality through modifications in fishing practice.

The volume includes

  • An overview of U.S. laws and policies relating to tuna and dolphins.
  • An illustrated look at how tuna fishing crews use their equipment, focusing on the purse seine, which is the method most economical to the industry but most deadly to the dolphins.
  • An overview of what is known about tuna and dolphin populations and the remarkable bond between them.
  • A step-by-step description of the fishing process and efforts to let dolphins escape from the nets.
  • An analysis of possible approaches to reducing dolphin kill, including more stringent regulatory approaches and incentives for the tuna industry.

This book will be indispensible to environmental and animal protection groups, tuna fishing crews and processors, companies that market tuna products, policymakers, regulators, and concerned individuals.


Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 1992. Dolphins and the Tuna Industry. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

192 pages | 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-309-04735-7

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