Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

The Submitters assert that “the Mexican government is failing to effectively enforce several environmental laws and as a result has caused the near-extinction of the vaquita porpoise. Only approximately 10 vaquita remain.” The Submitters assert that the vaquita population has been declining precipitously for decades due to bycatch in gillnets set to catch shrimp and fish, including totoaba, a large, endangered fish that is threatened by illegal fishing for international markets.

The vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) is the world’s smallest cetacean and the most endangered marine mammal. The vaquita has the smallest range of any whale, dolphin, or porpoise, and only lives in a small 1,500 square-mile area in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California, near the town of San Felipe. The totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) is a large, schooling marine fish whose habitat partially overlaps with the vaquita. According to the Submitters, Mexico is not effectively enforcing the General Wildlife Law (Ley General de Vida Silvestre) and federal regulations governing fishing within the vaquita’s habitat, including regulations that prohibit the use of gillnets and the capture of totoaba.

Submitter(s):

Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Welfare Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Investigation Agency

Submission Timeline

August 11, 2021

The Secretariat began reviewing the submission under Articles 24.27(2) and (3).

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 11/08/2021

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 12/08/2021

August 13, 2021

The Secretariat requested the Submitter(s) to correct minor errors of form.

August 16, 2021

The Submitters corrected the minor errors of form.

September 2, 2021

The Secretariat requested the Submitter(s) to correct minor errors of form.

September 3, 2021

The Submitters corrected the minor errors of form.

September 8, 2021

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 24.27(2), and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 24.27(3).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 24.27(2) and Article 24.27(3) of the CUSMA/USMCA authored by Secretariat on 08/09/2021