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Defenders of Wildlife Praises US-Mexico Agreement on Protections for the Vaquita Porpoise

Jennifer Witherspoon




Defenders of Wildlife Praises US-Mexico Agreement on Protections for the Vaquita Porpoise; Calls for New Partnership with China to End Illegal Fishing 

WASHINGTON (July 22, 2016) – Defenders of Wildlife welcomed news today that the United States and Mexico agreed to take bilateral action to protect the vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus).

Statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark:

“We are thrilled that U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto have stepped up to the plate for the world’s most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita porpoise.

“Now we need China to join this conservation partnership, and immediately help to end illegal fishing for the totoaba and to quell the lucrative market for the totoaba’s swim bladder as a delicacy in China.”


Only 60 vaquitas remain in the Gulf of California, according to the most recent surveys. This represents a decline of more than 92 percent since 1997. The vaquita is endangered by fishing using gill nets, including illegal fishing for totoaba, itself an endangered fish whose bladder is highly valued in East Asia. http://www.defenders.org/vaquita/basic-facts

Today the U.S. and Mexico presidents met at the White House and released the new protective agreements on the vaquita and other bilateral agreements. Both Presidents committed to intensify bilateral cooperation to protect the critically endangered vaquita marina porpoise, including that Mexico will ban the use of gillnets in all fisheries in the vaquita’s range; both countries will work to halt the illegal fishing for and trade of totoabas for their swim bladders; and both countries will work to dispose of illegal and derelict fishing gear in vaquita habitat.


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews