Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (07/31/1996)

International Dolphin Conservation Program Act - Amends the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to allow authorizations for the incidental taking of marine mammals during commercial yellowfin tuna fishing. Removes provisions requiring that, for purse seine yellowfin fishing, the goal of reducing incidental kill to insignificant levels be satisfied by the best safety techniques and equipment economically and technologically practicable.

Modifies requirements regarding export to the United States of yellowfin tuna harvested with purse seine nets in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETPO). Exempts a U.S. citizen from the Act in specified circumstances. Changes requirements regarding the issuance of general permits for the taking of marine mammals.

Mandates initiation of: (1) discussions regarding certain revisions to the Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission; (2) a revised schedule of annual contributions to the Commission; and (3) discussions with countries participating in the International Dolphin Conservation Program to identify alternative funding for the protection of marine species and the marine ecosystem.

Amends the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act regarding the circumstances in which tuna products may be labeled "Dolphin Safe." Mandates implementing regulations, including regulations establishing a domestic and international tracking and verification program.

(Sec. 5) Amends the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to declare that it is U.S. policy to support the International Dolphin Conservation Program and to ensure that the U.S. market does not act as an incentive to tuna harvesting that is not in compliance with the Program.

Mandates regulations to authorize and govern the incidental taking of marine mammals in the ETPO. Authorizes emergency regulations.

Requires undertaking or supporting scientific research to further the Program's goals.

Repeals provisions relating to bans on imports from countries failing to implement a moratorium on purse seine harvesting.

Replaces provisions concerning permits for taking dolphins with provisions mandating issuance of a permit to a U.S. vessel authorizing participation in the Program. Prohibits U.S. vessels from operating in the ETPO yellowfin tuna fishery without such a permit. Authorizes permit sanctions. Modifies the list of prohibited acts.

(Sec. 6) Amends the Tuna Conventions Act to modify the composition of the U.S. representation on the International Commission for the Scientific Investigation of Tuna and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. Modifies requirements regarding a related advisory committee.

(Sec. 7) Declares that it is the sense of the Congress that each nation participating in the Program should contribute an equitable amount to Commission expenses.