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Stop the Extinction of the Vaquita Porpoise

This petition had 3,321 supporters


URGENT: VAQUITA ARE DYING WHILE THE GILLNET BAN IS DELAYED
April 1 is the effective date NOW instead of March 1.
THIS BAN NEEDS TO BE INSTITUTED NOW!

COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION

Only 60 vaquita porpoise are left in the world. They face extinction if immediate action isn’t taken. The vaquita population lives ONLY in the northern waters of the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. For decades, they have been killed in gillnets set for fish and shrimp. The small porpoise, with dark rings around its eyes and black lips, is also known as panda of the sea.

Improvement was being made by Mexico to protect the vaquita with compensation to fishermen who switched to trawl nets and the establishment of a vaquita refuge. By 2010, these changes had cut the decline rate in half, to 4.5% a year. 

Progress came to a halt when illegal fishing began in the same area for an endangered fish, the totoaba. The totoaba swim bladders are sold for thousands of dollars to the Chinese market as an aphrodisiac. This has resulted in an accelerated rate of vaquita being killed when they are trapped and drowned in the totoaba nets leading to the devastating decline of the vaquita to 18.5% a year.

Last year, 27 totoaba bladders were found at the Calexico border crossing in California. The bladders were hidden in the car of an individual. When his house was searched, officials found 214 more bladders valued at $3.6 million on the Asian black market. The United States is part of the distribution chain and is working on halting the illegal fishing. The swim bladders are worth enormous sums and a huge incentive for illegal totoaba fishing.

To learn more about the illegal fishing on totoaba and the cost to the vaquita, click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/15/world/americas/a-vaquita-is-ensnared-by-criminals-and-nets.html

IN ONE NET, TWO ENDANGERED SPECIES ARE FACING EXTINCTION

In August 2014, the Committee International for Recovery of Vaquita (CIRVA V) announced that the vaquita would be lost forever if the gillnets were not removed immediately. A coordinated effort by Mexico, with assistance from the United States and China, is needed to save this porpoise. The report may be read here: http://www.vivavaquita.org/PDF/Report-of-the-Fifth-Meeting-of-CIRVA.pdf

CIRVA V stated that time is running out. They recommended (1) emergency regulations must be established for a gillnet exclusion zone covering the entire range of the vaquita, and (2) sufficient law enforcement must ensure that gillnet fishing is eliminated using all available enforcement tools within and outside of Mexico. Illegal totoaba fishing must be stopped.

In late November 2014, SEMARNAT (The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources) is expected to issue a decree that prohibits all gillnet fishing in the vaquita's range in the Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez for two years in response to international agreements to protect the vaquita and totoaba.

Unless the gillnets are removed immediately, the vaquita porpoise is destined for extinction.

View Save The Whales' video on the perilous state of the vaquita:

Countdown to Extinction: http://youtu.be/Z0ALqVHyHIs



Today: Valerie is counting on you

Valerie Streif needs your help with “Enrique Peña Nieto: Stop the Extinction of the Vaquita Porpoise”. Join Valerie and 3,320 supporters today.