U.S. Ambassador Supports Mexican Efforts to Protect the Vaquita in Gulf of California

Tijuana, B. C., April 16, 2015 – U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne joined Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in the port of San Felipe, Baja California for the Mexican government’s announcement of measures to protect two highly endangered native marine species, the totoaba fish, and the vaquita marina, a small porpoise.  Environment Secretary Juan José Guerra, Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos, Navy Secretary Vidal Soberon, Agriculture Secretary Enrique Martinez, Social Development Secretary Rosario Robles, Baja California Governor Francisco Vega, Nayarit Governor Roberto Sandoval, Sinaloa Governor Mario López, and U.S. Consul General in Tijuana Andrew S.E. Erickson also attended the event.

During the event, President Peña delivered to the local Mexican Navy “Defender” boats that will be used to patrol against illegal fishing.  President Peña also announced a historic fishing ban in the Upper Gulf of California to protect the endangered vaquita marina porpoise, which lives only in the Upper Gulf of California and is the most endangered of the 128 marine mammal species alive today.  The recent acceleration in the vaquita’s decline is largely due to the illegal fishing for totoaba.  The President also announced an economic compensation program for the region.

The United States has a long history of support for the Mexican government’s efforts to save the vaquita and welcomes opportunities to work with Mexico to support the President’s announced plan and other efforts to protect the totoaba and the vaquita marina.  The United States and Mexico have worked together for many decades to protect North America’s natural resources and biodiversity, from partnerships between national parks to improving environmental quality along our shared border, to the recently-signed U.S.-Mexico Wildfire Protection Agreement.  Mexican efforts to stop totoaba trafficking complement President Obama’s plan to combat illicit wildlife trade.

For additional information, see https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/02/11/launching-plan-combat-wildlife-trafficking