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Poachers Arrested by Mexican Navy to Save the Nearly Extinct Vaquita Porpoise

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
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December 29, 2016



Sea Shepherd vs Poachers in the Gulf of California (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

Six fishing boats engaged in illegal activities were spotted by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Mexico's Sea of Cortez, ending in their arrest by the Mexican Navy.

On Dec. 12, Sea Shepherd's M/V Farley Mowat located the poachers on radar before confirming their identities with binoculars. The six fishing boats were working together, using forbidden nets to catch the endangered totoaba bass inside a marine reserve in Mexico's Gulf of California.

"Sea Shepherd's partnership with the Mexican Navy is achieving results," Sea Shepherd founder and CEO Captain Paul Watson said. "Every poaching vessel intercepted and arrested is one step closer to preventing the extinction of the vaquita."

The totoaba is a rare fish native to the Gulf which can measure up to 6 feet in length and weigh as much as 220 lbs. Fishing for totoaba has been banned by the Mexican government since 1975, but it continues to be hunted by poachers solely for its swim bladder, which is sold on the black market in China for more than $20,000 per kilo.

When spotted by the Farley Mowat crew, the poachers began retrieving their nets as fast as they could, while others fled the scene immediately. The Farley Mowat tracked these boats, even while some of them tried to slow it down by maneuvering around the Sea Shepherd vessel.

Throughout the process, the Farley Mowat remained steadfast, following the poachers for about an hour until the Navy arrived. The poachers attempted to evade capture, giving up only when the Navy came at them with rifles drawn. No shots were fired.

Read the rest at EcoWatch

Related: US Navy Dolphins to Help Locate Rare Vaquita Porpoise (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Related: China Joins US and Mexico to Shut Down Totoaba Trafficking to Save Endangered Vaquitas (SeafoodNews.com)

Related: Mexico Makes a ‘Risky’ Last-Ditch Attempt to Save the Vaquita, the World's Smallest Porpoise (The Huffington Post)

  Check out Deep Blue Conservancy

  Check out The Western Ecological Society

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out Nuestra Tierra Turtle Conservation Program


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