Ex-tuna boat captain says dolphin are treated carefully

I am writing in response to Ms. Sierra Goodman´s claim of a tuna seiner possibly killing innocent spinner dolphin.  I worked on tuna seiners most of my life, and besides captain and helicopter pilot I have held almost every position and responsibility.

The claim that this seiner only began to remove dolphins from the net because Ms. Goodman was watching them is ridiculous.  Every seiner has a specially trained team that observes the net being drawn in. Yes, there are usually dolphins swimming in the tuna schools along with mako, tiger, blackfin and hammerhead sharks as well.  The divers wait until the optimal time to enter the net as to remove all the dolphins as quickly and as stress free as possible at the risk of being attacked by the sharks that also are swimming close by.

It is actually one of the most respected positions on the vessel and is taken very seriously. Captains who fail to meet basic protocol regarding the handling of dolphins are punished harshly.  The dolphins were not “crying out.”  They were communicating between each other using those sounds probably looking for an escape.

Unlike whale hunting, tuna seining is providing millions of people with a healthy, economic seafood source.  They are not poaching for furs, ivory or cosmetic items.  There are strict guidelines in place and they are followed.  It might be politically popular these days to bash the commercial fishing industry at large, however the tuna seiners do not deserve it.

I doubt Ms. Goodman has ever had to work on a seiner or understood the commitment to regulation and marine conservation that it entails.

Donaldo Vega
This entry was posted in Reader Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.