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An 'Accidental Extinction' Faces Mexican Porpoise

Emmett FitzGerald - PRI's The World
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September 5, 2015
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Despite a ban that started in April, some Mexican fishermen are still using gillnets in the northern Gulf of California to the detriment of critically endangered endemic porpoises. (Greenpeace)

The world’s most endangered marine mammal is a small porpoise called the vaquita - Spanish for little cow. The vaquita has been under threat for years, but now the poaching of a rare fish may be driving the tiny Mexican porpoise to extinction.

 

Listen: This story is based on a radio interview

The vaquita lives only in the Gulf of California off the coast of Mexico. For years, Mexican fishermen have accidentally caught the five-foot porpoise in gillnets set for fish and shrimp. “This has driven the population from a size of about 500, 20 years ago to less than 100 today,” says Duke University professor Andy Read.

But now the critically endangered vaquita faces another threat — fishing nets set illegally to catch a protected species called the totoaba. The totoaba is a large sea bass, or croaker, and its swim bladder can fetch up to $8,500 per kilo in Chinese medicine markets.

Read the rest at PRI's The World

  Check out Deep Blue Conservancy

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out The Western Ecological Society

  Check out Association for Environmental Unity in Mexico


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