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Today’s guest on the show is Zak Smith from the Natural Resources Defense Council

Zak is a Senior Attorney at NRDC, and has been running the group’s Marine Mammal Protection Project for the past 10 years.  Through this work, he has become deeply involved in efforts to save the vaquita from extinction.

If you’re wondering what a vaquita is – it’s a small species of porpoise found in the northern Gulf of California, and is considered to be the world’s most endangered marine mammal with fewer than 30 individuals remaining on the planet. 

If you’re a regular listener of the show – you’re likely very familiar with the vaquita issue since we’ve been covering it extensively here on the show for the past two years, and just released a 30-min documentary about the struggle to save it from extinction.  The film, by the way, is called Souls of the Vermilion Sea, and is available for free online streaming if you click here.

Zak’s most recent role in the fight to prevent the vaquita’s extinction has been the implementation of a boycott of Mexican shrimp.  Although the vast majority of shrimp fishing that goes on in Mexican waters does not impact the vaquita (because it occurs outside the vaquita’s range), Zak hopes that this boycott will put pressure on the Mexican government to step up enforcement of the existing regulations that are designed to protect the vaquita – including the ban on the use of all gillnets in the region.


Click here to watch the full film in the US

Click here to watch outside the US



Zak Smith’s profile at the NRDC

Souls of the Vermilion Sea website

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