The Surpsingly Complicated Problem of “Dolphin-Safe” Tuna

There’s a fascinating post about “dolphin safe” tuna at Southern Fried Science today. It starts off like this:

The commonly believed narrative about dolphin-safe tuna goes something like this: Lots of dolphins were being killed by tuna fishermen, outraged environmentalists led a massive PR campaign, legions of adorable children wrote to their elected officials, elected officials changed the rules to protect dolphins, and everything is better now. Hooray, we saved an innocent species and helped the environment!

That narrative is a great story. It shows that if a few people who care can convince others that their cause is just, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish. It’s inspiring. Too bad it’s not really true. As it turns out, we made things worse- a LOT worse.

The only time I eat tuna is when it’s served on a sushi platter – I find it cooks up too dry, and the canned stuff reminds me too much of cat food. Nonetheless, I was fascinated by the nuances of this fishery. Of course, I was also disappointed by the apparent attitude of the environmental campaigners who got this disastrous policy change enacted. Read the full post and make up your own mind.