Saving the vaquita
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) reported that the federal government will allocate up to $3 million dollars for the start of the rescue plan for the vaquita, government agency Notimex reported.
The ministry explained that this plan will be developed through the Project Vaquita CPR (Conservation, Protection and Recovery) that consists in transferring some specimens of this species to a temporary sanctuary. In that sanctuary, they will have the opportunity to reproduce without risk of falling into the gillnets, which operate illegally in the protected area.
SEMARNAT reported that this strategy was recommended by the International Committee for the Recovery of Vaquita (Cirva), the world’s smallest porpoise, endemic to the Upper Gulf of California. SEMARNAT also stressed that the Vaquita CRP conservation plan will be carried out alongside joint efforts to eliminate the threat of gillnets and illegal fishing in that area.
In that sense, they reported that the decline in the population of the Vaquita is a consequence of the accidental death of porpoises in gill nets. In 2015 the federal government announced a two-year ban on fishing in the Upper Gulf of California and gave opportunities for the development of sustainable fishing gear, among other actions.
The agency added that the project will be funded with complementary contributions from international civil associations committed to the conservation of marine mammals.
According to the authorities, this project will begin in autumn because the tranquility of the sea will favor the location of the Vaquita, and will be carried out alongside the elimination of illegal fishing nets in the area, according to AFP information.
Authorities and environmentalists estimate that no more than 30 Vaquitas are left in Mexico’s Gulf of California, which have been dying in nets designed to illegally fish another endangered species, such as the totoaba fish.