Good news for the vaquita!

By Andrea Hablutzel Pelayo

Mexico and the United States announce plans to relief this porpoise in the verge of extinction

The vaquita marina is currently the most endangered mammal in the world; its population considerably decreases with time, so much so that it’s in the verge of extinction, having less than 60 specimens.

But what has taken them to these numbers? What is their threat?

vaquita m ROriginal Image "Gobierno de la República Trabaja en la recuperación de la vaquita marinaby SEMARNAT, public domain, via Flickr.

In this case it’s the gillnets, used mainly to capture totoaba fish, which is very coveted and sells for thousands of dollars in the Chinese market; the vaquitas accidentally get stuck in these fishing nets and eventually die.

Back in 2015 the use of these nets in the Upper Golf of California was temporarily prohibited; but only for a lapse of two years, which means that in 2017 the vaquita will be vulnerable yet again, so now there’s a bigger sense of urgency.

Many civil society organizations, Greenpeace and the support of 150 thousand people interested in the wellbeing of this species demanded the government to strengthen the supervision, to avoid the fishing of endangered species in the Upper Gulf of California and for a permanent prohibition of these nets to be stablished to give this endemic Mexican marine mammal a real opportunity to restore their population.

avistam R.pngOriginal Image “Avistamiento de vaquita marina by SEMARNAT, public domain, via Flickr.

Today these demands to support the vaquita promise to be accomplished. The United States and Mexico agreed to a bilateral cooperation from both governments to protect the porpoise and her habitat, requesting the following:

- The permanent prohibition of the use of gillnets in all of the fishing points in their habitat.

- For both countries to double the effort in collaborating with international experts to develop alternative fishing gear for vaquita safe fishing.

- Both countries must establish and execute a long term program to retrieve, remove and throw away illegal fishing gear abandoned in their habitat, permanently.

The topic is still pending; waiting for a resolution and for it to be soon ratified by the Semarnat and that way, hope will be restored for the vaquita marina.

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