With as few as 15 vaquitas left in the wild, the action comes not a minute too soon. Paula Olson / NOAA Throwing a lifeline to the critically endangered vaquita porpoise, the U.S. Court of International Trade sided with conservation groups today and ordered the Trump administration to ban Mexican seafood imports caught with gillnets—the primary threat to the tiny porpoise.

The ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this year by NRDC, the Animal Welfare Institute , and the Center for Biological Diversity , who argued that the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) requires the federal government to step in when international fishing practices kill marine mammals at a rate that violates domestic standards. With half of the vaquita population drowning each year in Mexican gillnets —which kill marine animals indiscriminately—the mortality rate far exceeds the bar for U.S. action. “Collectively, our organizations have spent over a decade working to save the vaquita, and never has extinction felt so close,” said Giulia Good Stefani , an NRDC staff attorney who argued the case in court, “but now the world’s smallest and most endangered porpoise has what may be its very last chance.” As few as 15 […]


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