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Dolphin-Safe Certification

NOAA Fisheries' Tuna Tracking and Verification Program is the only program recognized by the U.S. Government that legally satisfies all applicable federal regulations regarding dolphin-safe certification.

The Federal Register includes regulations governing the activities of all exporters, transhippers, importers, processors, or wholesalers/distributors of any tuna or tuna products. Information submitted under the Tuna Tracking and Verification Program will be treated as confidential in accordance with NOAA Administrative Order 216-100, "Protection of Confidential Fisheries Statistics." Please see the links below for more details on programmatic regulations.

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Federal Register Final Rules

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Code of Federal Regulations

  • 50 CFR 216.24(f): Taking and related acts incidental to commercial fishing operations by tuna purse seine vessels in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
  • 50 CFR 216 Subpart H: Dolphin-Safe Tuna Labeling.
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U.S. Production

Tuna canners must submit a report of all tuna received at their facility in each calendar month. Data elements include the dolphin-safe status, species, condition, ocean area of capture, catcher vessel, gear type, trip dates, and quantity. NOAA Fisheries releases an annual U.S. Cannery Receipts report that includes all data from the entire U.S. canned tuna industry.

All U.S. tuna purse seine vessels that fish in the eastern Pacific Ocean and have a carrying capacity greater than 400 short tons must have an observer approved by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission on board to oversee every fishing trip. The vessel owners or managers must notify NOAA Fisheries of the location and expected time of arrival for each completed eastern Pacific Ocean trip. Among other forms, each observer records set-by-set information on tuna tracking forms (PDF, 4 pages).

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Importers must declare the dolphin-safe status of all frozen and processed tuna products on NOAA Form 370, Fisheries Certificate of Origin (PDF, 2 pages) for each and every imported shipment. This form is not required for fresh tuna. Additional information about NOAA Form 370 and other Tuna Tracking and Verification Program requirements can be found below:

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More Information

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