Mexico Health & Evironmental News

Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

  News &
Politics
Issues &
Opinions
Business &
Finance
Health &
Evironment
Lifestyle &
Entertainment
Travel &
Outdoors
Science &
Technology

The Fight to Save Mexico’s Vaquitas from Extinction

Sarah Gilman - Hakai Magazine
go to original
September 26, 2017
Share



Fewer than 30 vaquita porpoise survive in Mexico. To protect this species we must support sustainable fishing practices and the local fisherman working to make a difference. #SaveTheVaquita (Aquarium of the Pacific)

Proclamations of doom for the vaquita have been common in articles covering the species for at least a decade. But now, it seems certain that the porpoise has one last bid at survival.

 

This October, Mexico’s Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, or SEMARNAT, plans to launch a Hail Mary that will cost more than $5-million in 2017 alone to round up as many vaquitas as possible, and hold them in captivity for as long as it takes to make their habitat safe. Scientists, veterinarians, and experts from organizations in Mexico, the United States, and other countries hope to find them by using acoustic monitors, visual observers, and trained US Navy dolphins. Then, they’ll place nets in their path, and if they can catch them, immediately disentangle them and transport them to temporary open-water enclosures in the Upper Gulf until a more permanent sanctuary can be developed.

It’s risky: not all porpoise species tolerate captivity. Even if vaquitas turn out to be among those that do, little is known about what they need to thrive and breed. “We have to be incredibly rapid students of how to deal with fully captive populations and be in there for the long term,” says Barbara Taylor, lead of the US-based Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s Marine Mammal Genetics Program and a key member of CIRVA. “It’s going to be decades.”

It’s unclear how many vaquitas will be left to catch. This past spring, Jaramillo-Legorreta quietly deployed a handful of acoustic monitors a few months earlier than usual. Then, not long before vaquitas reached peak media visibility in June — with US movie star Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim, throwing their weight behind vaquita conservation efforts — CIRVA revealed that the creatures had all but disappeared. The monitors detected vaquitas only twice, far fewer times than anticipated. Until results are in from this summer’s full monitoring effort, “the data are hard to interpret,” Barbara Taylor, lead of the US-based Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s Marine Mammal Genetics Program says. But they “make us very worried.”

San Felipe, in April, is an oasis of activity in an otherwise silent desert. On the first weekend of the month, tourists pour into the town of 25,000 to watch tricked-out pickups and motorcycles roar through the San Felipe 250 off-road race. On the third weekend of the month, Easter weekend, still more tourists fill the beaches and the waterfront esplanade. Banda music vibrates the air, and couples lean into each other at a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe that overlooks the sea from a promontory scattered with plastic cups and silk flowers.

... It’s easy to see that every economic opportunity counts in San Felipe. April’s tourism boom is more exception than norm, and though the global economic recession has ebbed, abandoned houses and closed businesses are still abundant, and half-built, skeletal hotels loom along the shore. As the tensions escalated this spring with the closure of the corvina fishery and the lead-up to the permanent gill net ban, fishermen in Golfo de Santa Clara — a smaller Upper Gulf community that is almost wholly dependent on fishing — burned 15 government vehicles and patrol boats and beat some officials.

And after an international coalition of NGOs began pushing a blanket Mexican shrimp boycott on vaquitas’ behalf, Sunshine Antonio Rodriguez, a co-op owner and the leader of a large local fishing federation, led a protest in San Felipe, where a panga inscribed with “Sea Shepherd” and “SEMARNAT” was burned in effigy. He also warned that hundreds of pangas would go after Sea Shepherd’s ships if they didn’t leave within five days, which landed him a restraining order.

“Did we threaten them? Yes we did,” Rodriguez explains when I meet him at his RV resort in San Felipe. “Because in a matter of speaking, all the other NGOs are threatening Mexico and the fishing industry. They’re judging all fishermen as equal. To me, that’s a declaration of war.” None of this bodes well for vaquitas: a significant number of San Felipe residents still don’t believe they exist, and in the chaos, Rodriguez’s star has risen. People are disoriented and worried, and in times of uncertainty, they will follow the leaders who emerge.

Read the rest at Hakai Magazine

  Check out Deep Blue Conservancy

  Check out The Western Ecological Society

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out Association for Environmental Unity in Mexico


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

Environmental

Animals & Wildlife

Health Care

Youth & Family

Education

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


Resources

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