Affirmative findings help ensure that nations importing yellowfin tuna comply with U.S. environmental laws and requirements regarding dolphin-safe tuna.
An affirmative finding is a set of criteria the United States imposes on nations wishing to import yellowfin tuna into the country. Affirmative findings help ensure that the importing nation complies with U.S. environmental laws and requirements regarding dolphin-safe tuna.
A portion of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) addresses the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) tuna purse seine fishery and the importation of yellowfin tuna from nations participating in this fishery. Under the MMPA, the United States maintains its embargo of yellowfin tuna from nations whose large purse seine vessels (having a carrying capacity greater than 400 short tons (362.8 metric tons)) harvest ETP tuna unless the harvesting nation obtains an affirmative finding from NOAA Fisheries.
The MMPA affirmative finding requires that the harvesting nation meets the following conditions related to compliance with the International Dolphin Conservation Program (IDCP):
- A statement requesting an affirmative finding.
- A statement that a nation is a member of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, or has taken all steps toward application for membership required by article V, paragraph 3, of the Convention for the Establishment of an IATTC, and is meeting all financial and other obligations of IATTC membership.
- A statement that the nation is meeting the obligations of, and complying with, the provisions under the IDCP and is ensuring that its vessels are participating in the IDCP.
- A statement that the nation’s national (fleet) dolphin mortality limits and per-stock, per-year dolphin mortality caps were not exceeded in the year preceding the affirmative finding request.
- A copy of the waiver letter authorizing the IATTC to release complete and accurate verification and other information to NOAA Fisheries, including tuna tracking information.