Citing Concerns for Endangered Vaquita, Court Declines to Lift Ban on Import of Some Seafood

On October 22, 2018, the U.S. Court of International Trade denied the request of various federal agencies to stay an injunction banning the import of Mexican seafood caught with gill nets in the Gulf of California.  The injunction, granted in July, is intended to protect the endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus), which can get tangled in commercial fishing gill nets.  The injunction required the United States Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service, United States Department of the Treasury, United States Department of Homeland Defense, and various individuals acting in their official capacity, pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, to ban the importation of commercial fish and fish products caught with technology that results in incidental killing or injury of ocean mammals in excess of United States standards.  More specifically, the ban prohibits import of fish and fish products from Mexican commercial fisheries using gill nets in the vaquita’s range in the Upper Gulf of California.  It is believed that very few vaquita remain in the wild.  In requesting the stay, the U.S. government alleged that it had suffered ongoing serious harm as a result of the injunction.  The court, however, concluded that the government had not met its burden for a stay.

 

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    Rebecca Barho focuses her practice on natural resource law, with particular emphasis on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and various Texas ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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