In attempt to save the rarest marine mammal, court orders a ban on Mexican seafood imports Rosanna Xia

To protect one of the most endangered species in the world, an international trade court judge ordered the Trump administration Thursday to ban all seafood harvested with gill nets in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California — a bold move with significant political and economic consequences.

The order to save the vaquita porpoise, nicknamed “panda of the sea” for its chubby frame and black-ringed eyes, comes despite arguments from the U.S. government that a ban could negatively affect ongoing negotiations with Mexico. Earlier this week, the U.S. attorney general’s office tried to get the court to delay its decision for 30 days.

The ban, which affects an estimated $16 million worth of fish and shrimp, was a victory for conservationists who brought this issue to court in March after a decade of rescue efforts failed to prevent vaquita from getting fatally entangled in gill nets in Mexico’s waters.

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