Quantcast
Animals
iStock

Trader Joe's Stops Buying Mexican Shrimp After Pressure to Protect Vaquita

Conservation organizations announced Wednesday that Trader Joe's has declared it will stop buying shrimp from Mexico. The popular grocery store chain's decision follows pressure from organizations behind the Boycott Mexican Shrimp campaign, launched earlier this year to save the vaquita, the world's smallest porpoise, from decades of decline due to entanglement in shrimp fishing gear.


Trader Joe's declaration comes as Mexican authorities prepare this week to capture some of the fewer than 30 remaining vaquita in the Upper Gulf of California before all are lost to entanglement. The announcement puts new pressure on companies like Amazon that still sell Mexican shrimp.

The boycott—supported by more than 45 organizations, including the Animal Welfare Institute, Center for Biological Diversity and Natural Resources Defense Council—aims to conserve the vaquita by convincing Mexican officials to permanently ban all gillnet fishing, remove illegal nets from the water, and significantly increase enforcement efforts to save the species from extinction.

"We are grateful that Trader Joe's has listened to the tens of thousands of people who spoke out in support of our campaign's efforts to save the vaquita," said Kate O'Connell, marine animal consultant at the Animal Welfare Institute. "We hope that the Mexican government will take note of this decision and realize that U.S. consumers want nothing less than a total ban on all vaquita-deadly fishing gear."

For decades vaquita have been killed by entanglement in gillnet fishing gear used in the Upper Gulf of California to catch shrimp to supply the lucrative U.S. market. More recently gillnets have been used to illegally capture critically endangered totoaba, a large fish whose swim bladder is in high demand in Asia. The vaquita population has rapidly collapsed.

"Trader Joe's knows American shoppers don't support the reckless fishing practices that have nearly wiped out Mexico's beautiful little porpoise," said Tanya Sanerib, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Other companies like Amazon need to stop selling vaquita-killing shrimp from Mexico. We can still save the last few vaquita, but only if Mexican officials act now to rein in illegal fishing practices."

The government of Mexico announced in June that it was implementing a partial ban on gillnet fishing in the Upper Gulf of California. That ban, however, falls short of what experts have said is needed to save the imperiled porpoise. The "ban" exempts two fisheries—thereby allowing continued use of gillnets—and fails to ban the possession, sale and manufacture of gillnets in the region. If the government of Mexico does not enact a genuine, permanent ban on the use of all gillnets throughout their entire habitat, the vaquita will be extinct in under three years.

"For far too long, Mexico has neglected the one necessary change for the vaquita's survival: a 100 percent gillnet-free habitat," said Zak Smith, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council's Marine Mammal Protection Project. "With fewer than 30 vaquita left in the world, the time for half-hearted measures is over. Everything that can be done to save the vaquita should be done. But let's be clear: Unless the Mexican government can finally ensure a gillnet-free Upper Gulf of Mexico, the extinction of vaquita is guaranteed."

The organizations behind the Boycott Mexican Shrimp campaign have asked other companies to join Trader Joe's and Monterey Fish Market—a California-based seafood retail and wholesale company that signed on to the boycott this summer—to support the boycott and agree not to sell or source shrimp from Mexico.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Shutterstock

Soy Meat Is Soy Yesterday: 5 New and Better Options

By Katie O'Reilly

Vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians are no longer satisfied with the soy-reliant faux meat of yesterday. Soybeans are almost always genetically modified, and they also contain phytoestrogens, which may increase the risk of some cancers.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Pexels

Cell Phone Radiation Risks: California Issues Groundbreaking Guidelines

By Olga Naidenko

This week, California officially issued groundbreaking guidelines advising cell phone users to keep phones away from their bodies and limit use when reception is weak. State officials caution that studies link radiation from long-term cell phone use to an increased risk of brain cancer, lower sperm counts and other health problems, and note that children's developing brains could be at greater risk.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Christy Williams / WWF

Celebrating the Biggest Conservation Wins of 2017

It's been a big year for conservation.

Together we assured the world that the U.S. is still an ally in the fight against climate change through the We Are Still In movement, a coalition of more than 2,500 American leaders outside of the federal government who are still committed to meeting climate goals. WWF's activists met with legislators to voice their support for international conservation funding. And we ensured that Bhutan's vast and wildlife-rich areas remain protected forever through long-term funding.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate

3 Extreme Weather Events in 2016 'Could Not Have Happened' Without Climate Change, Scientists Say

Three of 2016's extreme weather events would have been impossible without human-caused climate change, according to new research.

The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society published a collection of papers Wednesday focused on examining the effect of climate change on 27 extreme weather events last year. The research found that climate change was a "significant driver" in 21 of these weather disasters, and that three events—the temperatures making 2016 the hottest year on record, the heat wave over Asia in the spring, and a "blob" of extremely warm water in the Pacific—"could not have happened" without climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Alan Schmierer

These Butterflies Have Lawyers

By John R. Platt

Don't mess with Texas butterflies. They have lawyers.

Keep reading... Show less
Renewable Energy
The price of offshore wind energy has dropped significantly in recent years. Wikimedia Commons

Netherlands Launches Landmark Zero-Subsidy Wind Power Auction

The Netherlands has launched the world's first “zero subsidy" tender on Friday to build 700 megawatts of offshore wind. Shortly after the announcement, the country already found its first bidder.

Zero subsidy tenders have been labeled as a “game-changer" for the sector because it means that potential bidders would rely solely on wholesale electricity prices without financial aid from the government.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Renewable Energy
India is betting on a "green future" through clean energy and low carbon innovation. UK Department for International Development / Flickr

World's Largest Solar-Wind-Storage Plant Planned for India

A wind, solar and battery storage plant is being planned for the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which has faced power woes in recent months due to grid failure.

The renewable energy facility will consist of 120 megawatts of solar, 40 megawatts of wind, 20-40 megawatt-hours of battery backup and will be spread over 1,000 acres in the district of Anantapur.

Keep reading... Show less
Food

How Cities Can Meat the Climate Challenge

By Kari Hamerschlag and Christopher D. Cook

Addressing a crowd of mayors gathered in his hometown last week, former President Obama called on the "new faces of American leadership" on climate change to take swift action to spare our children and grandchildren from a climate catastrophe. Twenty-five U.S. mayors signed the "Chicago Charter," affirming a commitment from their cities to meet the Paris agreement target for greenhouse gas reductions by 2025.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!