California Moves Forward with Legislation to Help Protect Endangered Vaquita Porpoise
AB 1151 by Assemblymember Gloria to Prohibit Sale & Consumption of Fish Products that Endanger Rare Vaquita
SACRAMENTO, CA – Approximately 23 vaquita remain in the wild. To help save this rare porpoise from extinction, California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) announced that his legislation to ensure California plays a vital role in protecting the vaquita received the approval of the California State Assembly today by a vote of 43-16.
“The vaquita population is literally disappearing before our eyes, and we must act now if we have any chance of saving this species,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “Instead of sitting idly by and letting the vaquita become extinct, California is choosing to be part of the solution. AB 1151 supports a market for fish products caught with vaquita-friendly nets, encourages the development of vaquita-friendly fishing practices, and supports Mexican conservation efforts to save the vaquita.”
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. Like the seafood targeted by these nets, These gillnets are undetectable by vvaquita ; they become entangled in the nets them and then drown. While Mexico has temporarily banned the use of most gillnets and the shrimp industry has adopted vaquita-friendly nets in the vaquita habitat, enforcement of the ban has been poor and the vaquita population continues to plummet.
AB 1151 takes steps in California to protect the vaquita 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.
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.
The vaquita is the world’s smallest and most endangered cetacean species (which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises). Vaquita average less than five feet in length and weigh about 100 pounds.
Assemblymember Gloria represents the 78th Assembly District of California, which includes the Cities of Coronado, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, San Diego, and Solana Beach. He also serves as the Assistant Majority Whip. .
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nick Serrano, (619) 645-3090.