JAS USA COMPLIANCE

News & Insights from JAS Worldwide Compliance

JAS Forwarding (USA), Inc.

6165 Barfield Road
Atlanta GA, 30328
United States
Tel: +1 (770)688-1206
Fax: +1 (770)688-1229

EFFORTS TO SAVE THE VAQUITA CONTINUE

August 3, 2023

The latest chapter in the ongoing efforts to save the endangered vaquita porpoise and the resulting impact on trade with Mexico unfolded on July 17 when the current administration published a letter to Congress outlining what trade sanctions, if any, would be imposed upon the government of Mexico. The letter was mandated by a settlement between the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) and three conservation groups that had filed suit in the Court of International Trade. The conservation groups had been petitioning Interior since 2014 to take action under the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act of 1967 to certify that Mexico was in violation of the act and international agreements by not taking adequate measures to protect the vaquita. Interior agreed to certify that Mexico was not meeting its obligations and that the executive branch must then determine what action to take. The vaquita is a miniature porpoise indigenous only to the Northern Gulf of California. It is protected under several U.S. laws. There are believed to be only 15 or less left in the wild.

The main threat to the vaquita is the use of gillnets to catch the totoaba fish that shares the same habitat with the vaquita. The vaquita can become entangled in these nets and drown. The totoaba are also endangered, however, the swim bladder of the totoaba is highly valued in China for its supposed medicinal properties. Customs and Border Protection in June seized 242 pounds of totoaba bladders attempting to be smuggled through the Port of Nogales. The estimated value was almost 3 million dollars. In the letter, it was stated that no sanctions would be imposed on Mexico at this time, as progress is being made in the ongoing dialogue between the two countries. There certainly will be more to come concerning the fate of the vaquita and how this will impact trade.

Link to the Letter
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For more details, check out our 3 Client advisories released during May linked below.

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