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Lawsuit seeks trade sanctions against Mexico for failing to protect endangered porpoise by Kendal Blust June 17,2020   |  Source: KJZZ

Two conservation groups are suing the U.S. government to force a decision on a 2014 legal petition seeking sanctions against Mexico for failing to stop illegal fishing that endangers the world’s rarest marine mammal, the vaquita marina porpoise.

Fewer than a dozen of the tiny mammals remain in the northern reaches of the Sea of Cortez, where they often get caught and drown in illegal gillnets used to fish for another endangered species, the totoaba. A thriving black market exists in China for the giant totoaba’s swim bladder, and the bladders are trafficked by some of the same Mexican cartels that supply narcotics.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Animal Welfare Institute, demands the United States formally certify that Mexico’s failure to end totoaba poaching violates an international wildlife treaty, and sanction Mexico by prohibiting all wildlife imports, including seafood.

“The Mexican government has just utterly failed to enforce its obligation to end totoaba fishing that continues to entangle the vaquita,” said Sarah Uhlemann, international program director and senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which is based in Tucson. “And we are truly facing extinction of a species if the Mexican


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