Here is a series I just completed. It was inspired by traditional Chinese ink paintings but with a modern flare. Please enjoy.
Posted byAidan Bodeo-Lomicky
Posted onDecember 3, 2013
Dr. Tom Jefferson just sent me some good news! Though the weather has not been ideal so far during the expedition, there has been a Vaquita sighting! Here is what he wrote:
“We have not had very good weather so far, but we did have one very calm day with a single Vaquita sighting very close to the boats. Three animals, but the photos did not turn out well.”
I was very excited to read this, and filled with hope that if the weather is calm for the next two weeks, they will get some really good Vaquita photos! Stay tuned.
On September 5, the Sonoran shrimp seasons commenced. The season generally begins in early September and ends in April, meaning you can shrimp during every month with the letter “r” in it. For the first ten days of the season, only artisanal panga fishermen, ribereños, are allowed to shrimp. But starting Sunday the 15th, the enormous trawling boats, cameroneros, are allowed to set sail. Both are of danger to the Vaquita unless they are outside of the Vaquita’s range and/or using Vaquita-safe trawls. This is an important time for Vaquita conservation because we will be able to see the Official Norm regulation hopefully be put into action. It would also be nice if all the fishermen follow the law and stay out of the Biosphere Reserve and Vaquita Refuge, but realistically, that’s not going to happen, at least not yet.
Hopefully PROFEPA (the part of the Mexican government in charge of patrolling the water for illegal fishing) will be out in large numbers trying to keep the reserves gillnet-free. That is another thing that will be very interesting to see during ¡Viva Vaquita!’s expedition starting the 23rd. Number one, if they see any fishermen, and if they do, what are they fishing with. I am not sure what they would do in that situation, and as cool as it would be for ¡Viva Vaquita! to go full-out Whale Wars on a tiny fishing boat using gillnets, I believe they would handle it very calmly and probably radio to PROFEPA, or something along those lines. The second thing that will be interesting to see will be if the ¡Viva Vaquita! team is spotted by PROFEPA, and if they are, will they be inspected for permits. Here is an excerpt from the blog of their 2010 expedition (hopefully they will have a blog this year too) about this very situation, which happened to be at the exact time they saw their only Vaquita during the entire 3-week trip:
“Captain Antonio sighted a Vaquita off the port-bow that surfaced twice and avoided the boat. We stopped to search, but at that same moment we were approached by the PROFEPA boat (Mexico’s environmental law enforcement agency) asking to see our permits. By the time the agents reviewed our paperwork, the Vaquita was gone. No one had been able to get any pictures. It was bad timing, but good to see the PROFEPA agents were doing their job.”
So my hopes for this year’s shrimping season is that no Vaquitas are killed by humans. This is definitely possible if the Official Norm is put into action and the fishermen follow the law. That way in the spring, when the calves are born, the Vaquita will finally begin its climb back from the brink of extinction.
For more information on this year’s shrimping season, read this article: http://sancarlos.tv/shrimp-season-commences-in-sonora/, and here is a great piece from Vaquita.tv about 2010’s shrimp season: http://vaquita.tv/blog/2010/09/17/big-expectations-for-the-2010-shrimp-season/.
I watched the sun sink in the horizon;
It was time for it to visit other places.
The gulls that squawked all day finally took wing
And roosted on the land that I would dock on shortly.
The lapping waves started to die.
Sweat stopped dripping from my tank top.
I decided to nap before I embarked on my homeward sail,
But before I put my hat over my face,
The fins began to appear.
Sun made its way
to her back,
Casting a morphing shadow
on the powdery sand.
Bubbles slipped out of her lungs,
dancing to the swirling surface.
She rose up
toward the beckoning sun.
Her blowhole inhaled
the salty air,
Refilling her lungs
like a balloon.
She noticed a ship
in the distance.
Binoculars and cameras faced her,
She floated in glory,
admired by the many people.
She was beautiful.
The boat rocked with every rolling current
As I slowly fed my net into the swirling aqua sea.
I watched as the floats drifted off,
Knowing the next time I would touch them,
I would be hauling hundreds of shrimp onto this deck.
I leaned against the cabin window,
I thought of my beautiful family:
My wife and son.
This was for them.
A large mob of gulls swarmed around the boat:
There must have been something in the water.
Spitting tobacco overboard, I began to pull in the net.
Inch by inch,
Foot by foot.
It was too late.
She was already gone.
A dead Vaquita lay mangled in the mesh,
Lifeless and dripping in blood from the lacerations.
I sat down on the deck and began to cry.
Lungs feeling tight,
She rises to the surface,
Inhaling the crisp, ripe sea air.
A huge ship breaks the horizon.
Many huge binoculars are aimed at her,
Many lights flash, discovering her majesty.
Exposed, she slips away forever.