AWI Hosts CITES Event on Endangered Vaquita, Totoaba

AWI co-hosted an event to highlight the plight of the vaquita porpoise and the totoaba fish during the January meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Standing Committee. Both species are critically endangered and found only in the upper Gulf of California, Mexico. Nets set to capture totoaba—prized for its swim bladder, which is believed by some to have curative powers—also catch vaquita, who number less than 100. A two-year ban on gill nets imposed by the Mexican government in 2015 will help, but as AWI made clear at the CITES event, without help from CITES parties, including those representing demand states (such as China), as well as those states through which totoaba are smuggled (such as the United States), both species face extinction in the near future.

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