State Senate Committee Approves the Vaquita Protection Act authored by Assemblymember Gloria

Thursday, June 29, 2017

California’s Legislation to Help Save Endangered Vaquita Porpoise from Extinction Advances in State Senate

SACRAMENTO, CA – With the future of the endangered vaquita porpoise in question, legislation in California to help protect this rare marine mammal nears its final hurdle. California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) announced today that the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee passed his bill, AB 1151 (also known as the Vaquita Protection Act), by a vote of six to two and will now be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

With every day that passes, we are getting closer to losing the vaquita on our state’s collective watch,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “The time for us to act is now. If nothing changes, the vaquita are projected to be extinct by 2020. I’m grateful my colleagues on the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee took heed of the high stakes facing the future of the vaquita porpise and our marine ecosystem, and chose to move this bill forward.”

AB 1151, authored by Assemblymember Gloria, takes steps in California to protect the vaquita porpoise from extinction. Specifically, it eliminates a market for fish products caught with vaquita harming gillnets and supports Mexican conservation efforts to protect the vaquita population. In addition, AB 1151 requires the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop enforcement regulations related to these provisions.

Since 1990, the vaquita population has declined by 95%. Gillnets, which are used to catch shrimp and fish, remain the greatest threat to the vaquita species., These gillnets are undetectable by vaquita; they become entangled in them and then drown. Because of this, approximately 23 vaquita are left in the world.

AB 1151 is co-sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council. AB 1151 has earned the support of the Animal Welfare Institute, the California Coastal Protection Network, the California League of Conservation Voters, Environment California, the Human Society of the United States, Sierra Club California, among others.

Contact: Nick Serrano, (619) 645-3090