Tuna Boycott?


I wish I’d been in La Jolla a couple of weeks ago to see the green inflatable airship flying overhead with a cartoon mermaid on one side. She was curvy and blonde, with a cigarette in her mouth and a bloody fish impaled on her trident. Around her was text that read, “Chicken of the Sea: Carnage in a Tuna Can.”

Are we looking at another tuna boycott? Many readers will remember 1988, when biologist Sam LaBudde went to work as a cook on a Panamanian tuna boat and secretly shot film that showed dolphins dying in nets and being crushed in winches, as many as 20 for every tuna. The video was shown to a Senate subcommittee and sparked a consumer boycott of canned tuna. Two years later, Starkist — then owned by Heinz — announced it would no longer buy any tuna caught by methods that threatened dolphins. Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea quickly followed suit, and “dolphin-safe tuna” was born. (Strangely enough, the World Trade Organization just ruled against dolphin-safe tuna labels, but that’s another story.)

(Read the rest of this article here.)

Photo: Greenpeace via Flickr


2 thoughts on “Tuna Boycott?

  1. I read the WTO article about it while I was in school. Their reason behind it was that the dolphin-safe nets are enormously expensive and no fishermen (typically poor) would be able to afford them, therefore ruining the lives of the fishermen, economic growth, as well as increase the price of fished goods. I’m not saying its right, but they do have a point. It always comes down to that point of economic growth or environmental protection.

  2. The full article is enough to get me to stop eating tuna…and I think where I live more people will be willing to give it a second thought if they hear it from a friend or relative than some crazy blimp. Not that I disagree with that as an effort, but I’m sure a lot of people just roll their eyes at it. Having a casual conversation about it among family members and friends may spread the word in a more practical way.

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