Mexico Health & Evironmental News

Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

  News &
Issues &
Business &
Health &
Lifestyle &
Travel &
Science &

Poachers Are Pushing Mexico's Vaquita to Extinction

Ben Goldfarb - Yale Environment 360
go to original
March 2, 2016

A dead California Gulf porpoise, also known as vaquita, in San Felipe. Around 80% of the world’s population has perished as bycatch. (Ho New/Reuters)

China’s lucrative black market for fish parts is threatening the vaquita, the world’s most endangered marine mammal. The porpoises, who live only in the Gulf of California, are getting caught up as bycatch in illegal gill nets and killed.

In 2013, Song Shen Zhen, a 75-year-old resident of Calexico, California, was attempting to re-enter the United States from Mexico when border patrol noticed a strange lump beneath the floor mats of his Dodge Attitude. The plastic bags beneath the mats contained not cocaine, but another valuable product: 27 swim bladders from the totoaba, a critically endangered fish whose air bladders, a Chinese delicacy with alleged medicinal value, fetch up to $20,000 apiece. Agents tracked Zhen to his house, where they discovered a makeshift factory containing another 214 bladders. Altogether, Zhen’s contraband was worth an estimated $3.6 million.

The robust black market is grim news for totoaba — but it’s an even greater catastrophe for vaquita, a diminutive porpoise that dwells solely in the northernmost reaches of the Gulf of California, the narrow body of water that extends between the Baja Peninsula and mainland Mexico. Since 1997, around 80 percent of the world’s vaquitas have perished as bycatch, many in gill nets operated by illegal totoaba fishermen.

Today, fewer than 100 vaquitas remain, earning it the dubious title of world’s most endangered marine mammal. Scientists fear the porpoise could vanish by 2018. “The possible extinction of the vaquita is the most important issue facing the marine mammal community right now,” says Barbara Taylor, a conservation biologist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

Read the rest at Yale Environment 360

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out The Western Ecological Society

  Check out Association for Environmental Unity in Mexico

  Check out Deep Blue Conservancy

We invite you to add your charity or supporting organizations' news stories and coming events to PVAngels so we can share them with the world. Do it now!

CHARITY ALERT Vallarta Botanical Garden Needs Your Help

TripAdvisor singled out the Botanical Garden for removal and placed us on our own page in Cabo Corrientes.

Please write and ask TripAdvisor why all other Cabo Corrientes attractions are still on the Puerto Vallarta page while only the Garden was removed.

Click here to see all the details

Meet the Charities

Community Services


Animals & Wildlife

Health Care

Youth & Family


Culture & Recreation

Special Interests

How You Can Help

Use Your Powers for Good

Add Your Favorite Charity

Save a Life - Give Blood


Partners for Change

Meet the Partners

Become a Partner for Change

Stay Connected

Find PVAngels on Facebook Follow PVAngels on Twitter Sign up PVAngels Newsletter RSS Feeds on PVAngels


About PVAngels

Add Your Charity

Add Your News & Events

Locate Yourself on Our Maps

Jobs - Join PVAngels Team

About Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Local News

Local Event Calendar

Puerto Vallarta Videos

Puerto Vallarta Photos

Historic Puerto Vallarta

Local Area Maps

Important Phone Numbers

Craig's List in Puerto Vallarta

News Around Mexico

Mexico Issues & Opinions

Mexico Business News

Mexico Evironmental News

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Mexico Travel & Outdoors

Science & Technology News

Mexico News & Travel Videos

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance a more in-depth understanding of critical issues facing the world. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

m3 • local actions from global awareness