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Will Boycotting Mexican Seafood Save the Vaquita?

Zak Smith - Natural Resources Defense Council
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March 16, 2015

Attendees of the Seafood Expo North America in Boston this month saw the above ad that questions whether it's time to boycott Mexican shrimp.

At the end of February, Mexico announced a plan to keep the vaquita - a small porpoise species found only in the northernmost part of the Gulf of California - from going extinct. Unfortunately, Mexico's plan amounts to nothing more than a roadmap for vaquita extinction. Plagued by half-measures, a record of ineffectual enforcement, and a general failure to accept the seismic shift in approach necessary to save the species, Mexico's plan offers solace only for those wishing to shield themselves from change. Frustrated that Mexico and the United States are not taking the steps necessary to save the species, people are increasingly looking at banning or boycotting Mexican seafood products as the only way to produce necessary action in Mexico.

So what is Mexico's grand plan to save the vaquita? A two-year ban on gillnets, even though vaquita specialists say a permanent ban is necessary; a compensation scheme for fishermen that does little to spur a wholesale transition to vaquita-friendly fishing gear and fails to address the economic concerns of those fishing outside of permits; and enforcement of the 5,000-square-mile ban (an area around the size of Connecticut) by using eight boats and three drones throughout a region where illegal fishing is rampant and driven by demand in China for - yet another - part of an endangered species for "traditional" purposes.

Read the rest at Natural Resources Defense Council

  Check out The Western Ecological Society

  Check out Deep Blue Conservancy

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out Association for Environmental Unity in Mexico

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