Page 24 of the USDA’s Economics of Food Labeling
The tuna industry and specifically its labeling practices changed dramatically due to the consumer demand and labeling practices.
The report in its entirety details how consumers who demanded safe practices for the tuna industry ultimately received government aid. However, it is important to note these changes did not happen overnight and required the consumer to pay a premium price for dolphin free tuna. What do we need to take away from this report? Fork over the extra money, be patient, and be vocal if you want to see change in the food industry.
This timeline provided by the USDA shows the transformation of the tuna industry.
Late 1980s Consumer boycott of tuna; U.S. Government begins pressuring other countries to improve fishing practices to save dolphins
1990 April Tuna producers announce dolphin-friendly practices and labeling of “dolphin-safe”
1990 October U.S. enforces import ban on tuna from countries that kill more dolphins than the United States does
1990 November Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act regulates labeling of dolphin-safe characteristics
1991 Mexico files complaint with GATT, alleging that embargo and labeling legislation are illegal
1992 International Dolphin Protection Agreement is signed. Sale of dolphin-unsafe tuna is banned
1997 Congress changes definition of dolphin-safe to allow tuna caught in nets, as long as no dolphins were killed; Congress lifts import embargo to allow boats with no observer aboard to use nets