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Groups Seek to Protect Imperiled Vaquita Porpoises Through U.S. Ban on Imports of Mexican Seafood Caught With Dangerous Nets

Gillnets Used in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California Violate U.S. Bycatch Standards

WASHINGTON— Conservation groups petitioned the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service today to ban imports of seafood caught with gillnets in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California, in order to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.

The vaquita population has declined by 90 percent over the last five years, with fewer than 30 of the small porpoises left on the planet. Entanglement in gillnets is the sole threat to the species’ survival, with scientists predicting that the vaquita will be extinct in two years if fishing practices remain unchanged.

“We can’t leave any tool unused that will help get the vaquita’s killer — gillnets — out of their habitat,” said Zak Smith, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Marine Mammal Protection Project. “The fishing industry is driving the vaquita’s extinction — and pressure on that group to fix their practices may be the most important way to save the porpoises. The United States must immediately ban the import of any seafood from Mexico that is contributing to the vaquita’s extinction.”

Read more.

Learn more about saving vaquitas.

Contact: Sarah Uhlemann

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Media Contacts:
Mike Stark, Communications Director
mstark@biologicaldiversity.org, (520) 623-5252, ext. 315

Jessica Herrera, Media Specialist – Population and Sustainability
jherrera@biologicaldiversity.org, (520) 260-1725

Steve Jones, Media Specialist – Oceans
sjones@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 305-3866

Jim Cronin, Media Specialist – Endangered Species
jcronin@biologicaldiversity.org, (503) 283.5474 ext. 411

Mary K. Reinhart, Media Secialist – Public Lands
mkreinhart@biologicaldiversity.org, (602) 568-1928

Andy Parker, Media Specialist – Environmental Health
aparker@biologicaldiversity.org, (503) 310-5569

Patrick Sullivan, Media Specialist – Climate Change, Fracking
psullivan@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 632-5316

Russ McSpadden, Communications Associate – Media Photos
rmcspadden@biologicaldiversity.org

Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; vaquitas by Paul Olsen/NOAA