In response to the CITES committee decision on Agenda Item 89 to continue Standing Committee oversight of totoaba issues, WWF issued the following statement from Heather Sohl, Senior Policy Advisor:
“We are beyond the eleventh hour in addressing the illegal totoaba trade and resulting bycatch of the vaquita porpoise in gillnets. Both species are critically endangered – with vaquita numbering less than 22 individuals. Swift, decisive action is needed to end illegal fishing and trade.
“Urgent and enhanced financial and technical support must be deployed to the Upper Gulf of California in Mexico to maintain the critical habitat for vaquita as a net-free zone, provide 24-hour surveillance and monitoring, remove all gillnets in the area, take all necessary measures to protect net removal teams, and arrest and prosecute illegal fishermen.”