Progress Update from the Conservation Committee

The Committee drafted several Presidential Letters (found here). The most recent was sent to President Tsai of Taiwan in regards to conservation efforts for the Taiwanese white dolphin. In March 2020, a Presidential Letter was sent regarding the conservation of dugongs in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (in Mozambique) and adjacent waters, the last viable dugong population in East Africa. The letter asks that the protected area be maintained and expanded and makes several suggestions about proposed oil and gas development. There is also a response to Mexican President López Obrador’s government response to an earlier vaquita letter. The letter expresses distress at evidence of another gillnet vaquita fatality together with evidence of increasing levels of gillnetting (in addition to ongoing illegal totoaba gillnetting) following the cessation of compensation to fishermen. The letter concludes with a plea for action (but none was taken). The final letter went to the NOAA Office of Protected Resources regarding the endangered southern resident killer whales. The letter was in response to a request for comments on ways to reduce impacts of vessels and noise and a series of recommendations that urge the agency to be precautionary are made.