Legal solutions to save the vaquita

The vaquita is the world’s rarest marine mammal, with some estimates suggesting as few as 10 of the small porpoises remain in their sole habitat, Mexico's Gulf of California. With illegal fishing and trafficking a constant threat, the vaquita may be extinct by 2022. A Kennedys team has been playing its part to ensure that doesn’t happen.

In December 2020 the Save the Vaquita Hackathon ‘Vaquita Hacks’ was launched by The Conservation Project International. The event, a world-first hackathon dedicated to finding innovative, technological and artificial intelligence solutions to save the vaquita from extinction, was delivered in partnership with global experts and attracted over 100 participants including lawyers, students and early career conservationists from across the world.

It was fantastic to see our international Kennedys family come together with their combined expertise to put forward solutions to counter illegal wildlife trafficking and help save the vaquita from extinction.

Lewis McAuley-Jones, Associate

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Taking part in the hackathon, Kennedys lawyers from the UK and Bogotá offices worked on legal solutions to help save the vaquita from extinction. Legal solutions submitted included the development of a vaquita-safe accreditation scheme and implementation of a UN asset recovery and inter-agency scheme.  This project is a great example of where we can have influence over the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Kennedys team

Lewis McAuley-Jones, Amy Childs, Carita Hui, Grace Davies, Jonah Kelly, Olivia Allbright, Pilar Giraldo Leon, Shefa Begum and William Hanwell.

Lewis McAuley-Jones, who led the Kennedys team said, “It was fantastic to see our international Kennedys family come together with their combined expertise to put forward solutions to counter illegal wildlife trafficking and help save the vaquita from extinction. Experts from 18 different countries took part and we were delighted to collaborate with a range of other experts to tackle the issues.” 

The Conservation Project

"It was a fantastic experience to work with Kennedys Law at Vaquita Hacks and to utilise the global expertise of the firm to develop new legal solutions aimed at better protecting the critically endangered Vaquita and tackling the insidious illegal totoaba trade. We now look forward to publishing the legal White Paper with Kennedys and developing the legal solutions to help save the Vaquita". - Harry Wright, The Conservation Project International

This White Paper and the proposed solutions contained herein focus on saving the Vaquita from extinction, however, it is also put forward in representation of what the Vaquita represent – the decline of one of the richest ecosystems on Earth in desperate need for immediate human intervention.

Download the full White Paper below. 

Solutions to save the vaquita (PDF, 1.2 MB)

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