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Earth Island Inst. v. Evans

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20069
Nos. No. C 03-0007 THE, (N.D. Cal., 08/10/2004)

A district court granted environmental groups' motion to preliminarily enjoin the Secretary of Commerce from implementing his finding under the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act that the intentional deployment on, or encirclement of, dolphins with purse seine nets is not having a significant adverse impact on depleted dolphin stocks in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. The Secretary's finding would permit tuna caught in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean using purse seine nets that are deployed to chase and encircle dolphins to be sold and marketed in the United States using the label "dolphin safe" so long as no dolphins are observed to have been killed or seriously injured during the set in which the tuna was harvested. The groups demonstrated that they are likely to succeed on their claim that the final finding is contrary to the best available scientific evidence and that the Secretary's explanation for his decision runs counter to the evidence before the agency. In addition, a temporary change in the label will likely cause irreparable injury to dolphins, create consumer confusion, and involve significant administrative efforts. And maintaining the current standard for another few months to allow the court the opportunity to fully adjudicate this action on the merits will both avoid the risk of irreparable injury to depleted dolphin stocks and further the public interest.

[Prior decision in this litigation is digested at 31 ELR 20829.]