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The Trump government has wanted to eliminate the measure, no matter that there are only 15 species left of the small animal that lives in the upper Gulf of California.
Since last July , the import of Mexican fish and shellfish was banned in the United States in an attempt to save the vaquita, and in a third decision of the Court, this measure was confirmed.
To reject an appeal by the Donald Trump administration, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an order requiring a ban on shellfish caught with gillnets, which drown marine vaquitas.
The departments of Commerce, Treasury and Homeland Security US have tried three times to remove the ban promoted by conservation organizations, which since March filed a lawsuit in the Court of International Trade in New York and in July achieved resolution.
Sarah Uhlemann, director of the international program of the Center for Biological Diversity, said: ” This victory helps consumers fight against the extinction of the vaquita.” The embargo on fish and shellfish will force Mexico to finally eliminate the dangerous networks of Gill and save these beautiful porpoises, before it’s too late. ”
“The US government is wasting time and facilitating the extinction of the vaquita by continuing its efforts to reverse the order of the court,” said DJ Schubert, a wildlife biologist at the Animal Welfare Institute.
“It is time for the government to accept the opinion, guarantee the full implementation of the ban and continue working with the Mexican government to save the vaquita,” he added.
Only 15 specimens of vaquitas remain, which inhabit the upper Gulf of California. Gillnets have killed 50% of the population, as the small animal easily becomes entangled and drowns in the nets.
Mexico’s efforts to stop the vaquita’s incidental capture do not meet US standards. ” It is necessary to pressure Mexico to prohibit all gillnets in the upper Gulf and to eliminate illegal networks,” said Giulia Good Stefani, a lawyer with the Council for the Defense of Natural Resources (NRDC).
If this prohibition does not apply, and if Mexican fishing practices continue, scientists estimate that by 2021 the vaquita will become extinct.In the last 20 years, 95% of the population has been lost.
The vaquita was condemned by the illegal fishing of the totoaba , a fish with which it lives in the same habitat and which is quoted in Asia , for the properties of its bladder, in almost 60,000 dollars per kilo . The nets with which they fish the totoaba are lethal for the vaquita.