Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right”—the sad case of Vaquita, the Trump administration and the removal of protections for whales and dolphins

  • E. C. M. Parsons

On June 13 this year, there was a briefing on Capitol Hill (in Washington DC) on the vaquita, or Gulf of California harbor porpoise (Phocoena sinus), currently the most endangered cetacean in the world. Sadly, the meeting was mostly populated by employees and interns of a small number of NGOs and a tiny smattering of scientists, but very few Congressional aides or staffers. Leading up to this summer’s last-ditch attempt to rescue the population, this event was rather an analogy of the situation related to the vaquita in general—a species that a small number of NGOs and a few dedicated scientists are trying to save, with few policy-makers involved.

The vaquita population is currently estimated to be less than 30 individuals, with five animals found dead in spring 2017 alone (UNESCO 2017). The major threat to these animals is entanglement in nets. The Mexican government has introduced a 2-year gillnet ban in key vaquita habitat, but the most problematic fishery is currently an illegal...


Vaquita Phocoena sinus Trump administration Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale Marine Mammal Commission Resistance Harry Potter 


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Copyright information

© AESS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science & PolicyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUnited States

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