AWI Files Suit to Save Vaquita

In a desperate attempt to save the last remaining vaquita porpoises, AWI and other groups filed suit against several federal agencies in December. The vaquita, a small porpoise that exists only in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California, is one of the world’s most endangered animal species, with likely fewer than 30 vaquita now remaining. The vaquita population’s precipitous decline of more than 95 percent over the last 20 years is attributable to incidental entanglement and drowning in gillnet fishing gear set in or near vaquita habitat to catch various commercial fish species in Mexico. AWI believes that, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the United States has an obligation to ban the import of fish and fish products from Mexico caught with gillnets. Without this ban, the vaquita is predicted to be extinct by 2019. AWI is hoping for a quick resolution of the lawsuit, resulting in an import ban that will persuade Mexico to act swiftly to rid the Upper Gulf of gillnets.