The Dolphin Friendly standard has been developed by the American environmental organisation Earth Island Institute (EII). This standard is intended to stop the large amount of dolphin by-catch during fishing for yellowfin tuna in the Pacific Ocean.
This standard requires that fishermen do not use driftnets and ultimately prevent dolphins from being caught. An independent observer must be on board of large fishing boats to assess this.
This quality mark receives a lot of criticism, as companies can say that they are abiding by the rules but there are no independent third-party checks in place. Furthermore, the standard only focuses on the bycatch of dolphins and not on that of other species such as sharks and sea turtles. This means that the certification wrongly suggests that dolphin-friendly tuna is also sustainable tuna. The label is also used for skipjack tuna where dolphin bycatch does not play a role.
The Dolphin Friendly label is not supported by the World Wildlife Fund, Good Fish and Greenpeace. Also some tuna products contain similar ‘dolphin friendly’ labels to bypass the costs for the use of the EII logo, making these labels untrustworthy.
Many labels still circulate our market that falsely guarantee sustainability. The MSC (for wild caught fish) and ASC (for farmed fish) labels can be found on most fish products in the supermarket. If these labels are missing from the packaging, look up the species in the VISwijzer. You will find information about the fish species, the fishing method, and the origin, on the back of the packaging in the yellow-marked box.