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THE DOPHIN PROTECTION CONSUMER INFORMATION
[Section 901 of Pub. L. 101-627; 104 Stat. 4465]
[As amended through P.L. 105–42, Aug. 15, 1997)
SEC. 901. (16 U.S.C. 1385) (a) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act”. (b) FINDINGS.—The Congress finds that
(1) dolphins and other marine mammals are frequently killed in the course of tuna fishing operations in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and high seas driftnet fishing in other parts of the world;
(2) it is the policy of the United States to support a worldwide ban on high seas driftnet fishing, in part because of the harmful effects that such driftnets have on marine mammals, including dolphins; and
(3) consumers would like to know if the tuna they purchase is falsely labeled as to the effect of the harvesting of the tuna on dolphins. (c) DEFINITIONS.—For purposes of this section
(1) the terms "driftnet" and "driftnet fishing" have the meanings given those terms in section 4003 of the Driftnet Impact Monitoring, Assessment, and Control Act of 1987 (16 U.S.C. 1822 note);
(2) the term "eastern tropical Pacific Ocean” means the area of the Pacific Ocean bounded by 40 degrees north latitude, 40 degrees south latitude, 160 degrees west longitude, and the western coastlines of North, Central, and South America;
(3) the term “label” means a display of written, printed, or graphic matter on or affixed to the immediate container of any article;
(4) the term "Secretary” means the Secretary of Com
(5) the term “tuna product” means a food item which contains tuna and which has been processed for retail sale, except perishable sandwiches, salads, or other products with a shelf life of less than 3 days. (d) LABELING STANDARD.
(1) It is a violation of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) for any producer, importer, exporter, distributor, or seller of any tuna product that is exported from or offered for sale in the United States to include on the label of that product the term "dolphin safe” or any other term or symbol that falsely claims or suggests that the tuna contained in the product were harvested using a method of fishing that is not harmful to dolphins if the product contains tuna harvested
(A) on the high seas by a vessel engaged in driftnet fishing;
(B) outside the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean by a vessel using purse seine nets
(i) in a fishery in which the Secretary has determined that a regular and significant association occurs between dolphins and tuna (similar to the association between dolphins and tuna in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean), unless such product is accompanied by a written statement, executed by the captain of the vessel and an observer participating in a national or international program acceptable to the Secretary, certifying that no purse seine net was intentionally deployed on or used to encircle dolphins during the particular voyage on which the tuna were caught and no dolphins were killed or seriously injured in the sets in which the tuna were caught; or
(ii) in any other fishery (other than a fishery described in subparagraph (D)) unless the product is accompanied by a written statement executed by the captain of the vessel certifying that no purse seine net was intentionally deployed on or used to encircle dolphins during the particular voyage on which the tuna was harvested;
(C) in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean by a vessel using a purse seine net unless the tuna meet the requirements for being considered dolphin safe under paragraph (2); or
(D) by a vessel in a fishery other than one described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (Č) that is identified by the Secretary as having a regular and significant mortality or serious injury of dolphins, unless such product is accompanied by a written statement executed by the captain of the vessel and an observer participating in a national or international program acceptable to the Secretary that no dolphins were killed or seriously injured in the sets or other gear deployments in which the tuna were caught, provided that the Secretary determines that such an observer statement is necessary.
(2) For purposes of paragraph (1)(C), a tuna product that contains tuna harvested in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean by a vessel using purse seine nets is dolphin safe if
(A) the vessel is of a type and size that the Secretary has determined, consistent with the International Dolphin Conservation Program, is not capable of deploying its purse seine nets on or to encircle dolphins; or
(B)(i) the product is accompanied by a written statement executed by the captain providing the certification required under subsection (h);
(ii) the product is accompanied by a written statement executed by
(I) the Secretary or the Secretary's designee;
(II) a representative of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission; or
(III) an authorized representative of a participating nation whose national program meets the requirements of the International Dolphin Conservation
Program, which states that there was an observer approved by the International Dolphin Conservation Program on board the vessel during the entire trip and that such observer provided the certification required under subsection (h); and
(iii) the statements referred to in clauses (i) and (ii) are endorsed in writing by each exporter, importer, and processor of the product; and
(C) the written statements and endorsements referred to in subparagraph (B) comply with regulations promulgated by the Secretary which provide for the verification of tuna products as dolphin safe.
(3)(A) The Secretary of Commerce shall develop an official mark that may be used to label tuna products as dolphin safe in accordance with this Act.
(B) A tuna product that bears the dolphin safe mark developed under subparagraph (A) shall not bear any other label or mark that refers to dolphins, porpoises, or marine mammals.
(C) It is a violation of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to label a tuna product with any label or mark that refers to dolphins, porpoises, or marine mammals other than the mark developed under subparagraph (A) unless
(i) no dolphins were killed or seriously injured in the sets or other gear deployments in which the tuna were caught;
(ii) the label is supported by a tracking and verification program which is comparable in effectiveness to the program established under subsection (f); and
(iii) the label complies with all applicable labeling, marketing, and advertising laws and regulations of the Federal Trade Commission, including any guidelines for environmental labeling.
(D) If the Secretary determines that the use of a label referred to in subparagraph (C) is substantially undermining the conservation goals of the International Dolphin Conservation Program, the Secretary shall report that determination to the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the United States House of Representatives Committees on Resources and on Commerce, along with recommendations to correct such problems.
(E) It is a violation of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) willingly and knowingly to use a label referred to in subparagraph (C) in a campaign or effort to mislead or deceive consumers about the level of protection afforded dolphins under the International Dolphin Conservation Program.
(e) ENFORCEMENT.—Any person who knowingly and willfully makes a statement or endorsement described in subsection (d)(2)(B) that is false is liable for a civil penalty of not to exceed $100,000 assessed in an action brought in any appropriate district court of the United States on behalf of the Secretary.
(f) REGULATIONS.—The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, shall issue regulations to implement this Act 1, including regulations to establish a domestic tracking and verification program that provides for the effective tracking of tuna labeled under subsection (d). In the development of these regulations, the Secretary shall establish appropriate procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of proprietary information the submission of which is voluntary or mandatory. The regulations shall address each of the following items:
(1) The use of weight calculation for purposes of tracking tuna caught, landed, processed, and exported.
(2) Additional measures to enhance current observer coverage, including the establishment of criteria for training, and for improving monitoring and reporting capabilities and procedures.
(3) The designation of well location, procedures for sealing holds, procedures for monitoring and certifying both above and below deck, or through equally effective methods, the tracking and verification of tuna labeled under subsection (d).
(4) The reporting, receipt, and database storage of radio and facsimile transmittals from fishing vessels containing information related to the tracking and verification of tuna, and the definition of set.
(5) The shore-based verification and tracking throughout the fishing, transshipment, and canning process by means of Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission trip records or otherwise.
(6) The use of periodic audits and spot checks for caught, landed, and processed tuna products labeled in accordance with subsection (d).
(7) The provision of timely access to data required under this subsection by the Secretary from harvesting nations to undertake the actions required in paragraph (6) of this para
graph 2 The Secretary may make such adjustments as may be appropriate to the regulations promulgated under this subsection to implement an international tracking and verification program that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements established by the Secretary under this subsection.
(g) SECRETARIAL FINDINGS.1) Between March 1, 1999, and March 31, 1999, the Secretary shall, on the basis of the research conducted before March 1, 1999, under section 304(a) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, information obtained under the International Dolphin Conservation Program, and any other relevant information, make an initial finding regarding whether the intentional deployment on or encirclement of dolphins with purse seine nets is having a significant adverse impact on any depleted dolphin stock in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. The initial finding shall be published immediately in the Federal Register and
1 So in law. Probably should be “this section”. 2 So in law. Probably should be “paragraph (6) of this subsection”.