Government Issues Permanent Ban on Gillnet Fishing to Save Endangered Vaquita Porpoise
Mexico is the first country to enact such a ban on gillnets, also known as ghost nets due to their invisibility to marine mammals (VivaVaquita.org)
Mexico enacted a permanent ban on gillnet fishing in the northern Gulf of California on Friday in a bid to protect the critically endangered porpoise known as the vaquita marina.
The measure, which makes permanent a temporary ban in place since April 2015, is the first step toward fulfilling an agreement reached this month by President Enrique Pena Nieto and the foundations of actor Leonardo DiCaprio and telecom billionaire Carlos Slim to try to save the vaquita.
The diminutive vaquita is the world's smallest and most endangered marine mammal, with only about two-dozen remaining in their habitat in the upper Gulf.
Their numbers have been greatly reduced in recent decades by the illegal use of gillnets, which are primarily used to catch the totoaba fish but can ensnare and kill vaquitas as well.
The World Wildlife Fund issued a statement supporting the ban.
"This is a fantastic and encouraging step forward in the path to saving the vaquita, provided the ban is fully enforced and accompanied by fishing alternatives for local communities," acting CEO Jorge Rickards was quoted as saying.
Read the rest at Fox News
Related: Leonardo DiCaprio Lauds Mexico for Permanent Ban on Fishing Nets (Reuters)
Related: Mexico to Use Dolphins to Save Endangered Vaquita Porpoise (Agence France-Presse)
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