Illegal fishing of protected totoaba fish in Mexico’s Gulf of California and their subsequent trafficking and retail as part of transnational organised crime are responsible for the rapid decline of vaquitas, the world’s most endangered marine mammal.
The illegal trade in totoaba fish maws is rapidly driving the vaquita marina to extinction. This small rare porpoise endemic to Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California is collateral damage in the pursuit of huge profits by organised criminal networks that sell totoaba swim bladders in Asian markets, primarily China.
The vaquita porpoise is the world’s most endangered marine mammal and its existence hangs by the slenderest of threads, with fewer than 30 individuals believed to remain. Its survival depends on the immediate and permanent elimination of all gillnets from its range in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico
The vaquita’s plight as the world’s most endangered cetacean species is not due to direct threats such as hunting. Instead, its plummeting numbers are due to indiscriminate killing in illegal gillnets used to poach critically endangered totoaba fish
A new report to the 66th Standing Committee of CITES calling for an urgent crackdown on the illegal trade in endangered totoaba fish swim bladders which is driving the critically endangered vaquita porpoise to extinction as collateral damage