EDF Applauds Passage of Dolphin Protection Bill

July 30, 1997
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(30 July, 1997 -- Washington) The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today praised Senate passage of S.39, the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act, which EDF, Greenpeace, the National Wildlife Federation, Center for Marine Conservation, and World Wildlife Fund played a leading role in bringing about.

"This new legislation is better for dolphins, better for consumers, better for the ocean ecosystem and better for the US fishing fleet," said Annie Petsonk, EDF international counsel. "With this bill we have achieved the important international protections that dolphins have needed."

"We have demonstrated that economic incentives can spur nations to fish in a more environmentally friendly manner," said Petsonk. "This breakthrough legislation will serve as the benchmark for resolving contentious international fisheries disputes in a way that makes scientific and economic sense."

S. 39 fully implements the 1995 Panama Declaration and will bring the foreign nations fishing in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) into a legally binding dolphin protection agreement that is backed by tough trade sanctions. Last minute changes to the bill ensure that a 3-year study of the impact of fishing methods on dolphins will be conducted.

"When the legislation becomes fully effective, consumers will for the first time be assured that not a single dolphin was killed or seriously injured in bringing dolphin safe tuna to the market," said Petsonk.

EDF had pressed for the Panama Agreement in 1995 in order to strengthen protections for dolphins and other species in the ETP fishery.