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Time Running Out to Save the Sea of Cortez Vaquita

Joel Reynolds - San Diego Union Tribune
go to original
July 9, 2015



International Save the Vaquita Day - Go to VivaVaquita.org to find out more (Golden Dolphins Media Productions)

When you’re small, it’s sometimes easy to get overlooked. No bigger than a loaf of bread at birth, vaquita are barely 5 feet in length when fully grown. Despite well-placed facial markings giving the appearance of a permanent smile, the outlook couldn’t be sadder for the world’s smallest porpoise.

Down to 50 individuals or less, according to the latest science, the disappearance of the vaquita (pronounced va-KEE-tuh, Spanish for “little cow”) from the northern Gulf of California would mark the first whale, dolphin or porpoise species to go extinct in North America in modern times. And it would be an unimaginable tragedy as we know exactly what is killing vaquita and how to keep them from disappearing forever.

In simplest terms, gillnets are to blame for the vaquita’s dramatic decline. The diminutive porpoises get tangled and drown in the antiquated and destructive nets, which sometimes stretch a mile long to snare shrimp (often for export to the United States) and catch the endangered totoaba, a fish prized in China for the alleged medicinal benefits of its swim bladder. A permanent gillnet ban – that’s fully enforced 24/7 – is essential to save what few vaquita remain and give them a fighting chance at survival.

Read the rest at San Diego Union Tribune

Related: Conservationists Rally Outside Mexican Embassy to Save Vaquita Porpoise (Center for Biological Diversity)

  Check out Deep Blue Conservancy

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out The Western Ecological Society


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