CEDO Eco Shop

I just received an awesome package from the CEDO Eco Shop, the gift store of the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans. They have so many amazing items, including a Vaquita section where the profits go to our favorite little cetacean. I bought my sister some nice Vaquita earrings (the only available ones in the world to my understanding) created by local women who live in Puerto Peñasco, one of the 3 towns surrounding the Vaquita’s range. They were only $10, but you can purchase different types at various prices.

Earrings

Another great Vaquita item I bought was the CEDO publication “The Vaquita of the Gulf of California.” The 28-page magazine-style book from 2002 is very interesting and absolutely worth its bargain price of $5. Please consider purchasing some of the incredible items in this gift shop!

The Vaquita of the Gulf of California

Interior

An amazing feature I found in the Eco Shop was their Amazon “portal,” which is a link to the same Amazon page we all know and love, except on this one, when you purchase anything, a portion of the profits goes to CEDO! So if you want to donate to CEDO and the Vaquita, but also really want that pair of shoes you saw on Amazon a few days ago, click the link below and shop away with a lot less guilt. 😉

You can also buy my Vaquita book with that link, and in doing so, donate to at least 3 Vaquita charities at once! You can also buy it here: https://www.createspace.com/4268018. In addition, please read this extremely nice article from the website “Greening the Beige” about my book: http://greeningthebeige.org/gtb/node/1863.

Hey, I almost forgot to ask! How did you find this blog? Was it from a Google search? A link on another website? Or something else? Please submit your answer in the poll in the sidebar, to help me learn how to maximize this blog’s viewing. Thanks from the Vaquita!

Muskwa recognized by White House

I am completely shocked by the email I just received from William Whittenbury, Muskwa Club president:

“THIS JUST IN-

During the preparations for National Save the Vaquita Day this year, we reached out to President Obama, asking him to officially declare July 6 to be the National Save the Vaquita Day. While we did not receive a response on the issue, we felt it was a valuable experience to reach out to the White House.

Well…

Today we received a package addressed to Hannah (our publicity director) as “Ms. Hannah Kim, Director of Public Relations, Muskwa Club.” Guess who it was from! Inside was a card with the compliments of THE PRESIDENT as well as a copy of his official proclamation that made June 2013 World Oceans Month. While the Vaquita Day was not officially declared, the White House took the time to respond and make the connection between the Vaquita and the ocean!

So, in short, Muskwa is now recognized as an organization by the President of the United States!”

I was so excited to read this! It is obviously a huge step for Muskwa and an enormous deal for the Vaquita!

Also, today Cheryl Butner received her birthday present from Diane Glim (both of the American Cetacean Society), and guess what it was? My book! I am so thankful to both of them, and they even are purchasing 20 for the ACS’s Christmas fundraiser!

Update; Book drive to fund expedition

In order to help fund ¡Viva Vaquita!’s photographic expedition scheduled for September 23 – October 16, 2013, they are accepting donations of any marine mammal books. I took this as the perfect opportunity to send Tom Jefferson my book. If you have any marine mammal literature lying around your house, please contact Tom Jefferson (see below). This expedition will be so important for the Vaquita and interesting for Vaquita enthusiasts not only because the scientists will be able to make sure the Vaquita is still alive and hopefully see a bunch, but also because they could get some new photographs that could be very important for Vaquita education in the future. They are also bringing over 1000 Spanish Vaquita coloring books to distribute to the local schools! Here is what ¡Viva Vaquita!’s website says about the book drive:

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MARINE MAMMAL BOOKS AND REPRINTS WANTED

¡Viva Vaquita! is requesting marine mammal books, reprints, monographs, and journals. Literature can be donated or we can purchase sets of books, reprints, and journals. We make the literature available to colleagues working on marine mammals, getting it into hands where it will be actively used, and in the process help to raise funds for research and conservation work on the Vaquita. Donations are tax-deductible, and we may be able to arrange pick-up of large quantities of literature. We are currently collecting literature to help fund our Sept/Oct 2013 expedition to San Felipe, and to conduct education work with local organizations and school groups in Mexico. If you have any literature you would be interested in donating or selling to us, please contact Tom Jefferson at sclymene@aol.com.

Let’s do this!

As I am sure you know by now if you have read some of my previous posts, Mexico made a new law (called the Official Norm) that requires all shrimp gillnets to be switched out with Vaquita-safe trawls within the next 3 years. This is obviously enormous news, so even some of the major groups wrote articles about it, among them the WWF, the organization whose petition caused the law to be created in the first place.

However, few to no articles talk about what happens next.

This law is only affecting shrimp gillnets, because they are the only ones who have a Vaquita-safe substitute so far. Finfishing gillnets pose just as big, if not bigger, of a threat to the Vaquita, so they obviously need to be replaced as well. Currently, there are Vaquita-safe finfishing trawls being developed and tested, so hopefully they prove effective and can be implemented in the Gulf as well within the next couple of years, before it is too late.

The other part of the puzzle with this law is the cooperation of the fishermen and the commitment of the government. We are all hoping that the government really does follow through with this plan and succeeds, and from what I can tell, they mean business with this law. They really do want to save the Vaquita, and I believe they will as long as one factor falls into place: the fishermen.

In the end, it is all up to the fishermen. No matter how strict the government gets, the fishermen will be able to slip through their grasp and fish illegally. That is, if the fishermen would rather risk it all just to fish with gillnets. The law plans to train each fishermen on how to use the trawls and compensate them, meaning there is no real loss for the fishermen that participate in this mandatory law. The trawls are a lot more expensive than gillnets, so the government is going to need to use a lot of their tax dollars to make it happen. If you are a Gulf fishermen, please do the right thing and follow the law. Participate in the Official Norm, and tell every other fishermen to do the same. If you live in Mexico, know that every item you buy with tax could be helping save one of your national icons.

You. Yes, you sitting there reading this post. I want you to help this law succeed too. First off, DO NOT BUY FISH OR SHRIMP FROM THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA CAUGHT WITH GILLNETS! If there is no business, there will be no reason to fish. The next thing to do is sign my new and improved petition to the Mexican president, SEMARNAT, and PROFEPA, which asks them to do the things I wrote about in this post:

http://www.change.org/petitions/save-the-elusive-vaquita

Thank you so much for your help! If you would like to learn everything you can about the Vaquita while also donating to the species, please buy the first ever Vaquita book, written by me, here: https://www.createspace.com/4268018.

Together, we can save the Vaquita. Let’s do this!

First donation details

A huge thanks to everyone who bought my book in its debut month! I am going to send a check of 25% of my earnings to ¡Viva Vaquita! (like I will for every future month), along with additional money going to other Vaquita causes, like the all-new switch-out charity (see post below for link).

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Here are the details of the donation:

Between June 28 and July 30, I sold:

19 books online (15 via https://www.createspace.com/4268018, and 4 via Amazon.com), equaling $117.13

and 21 books in person, equaling $280.00

for a total of $397.13

and an average of $9.93 per book

Total donation to ¡Viva Vaquita!: rounded up to $100

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So for my first month of the book, I will be donation $100 to ¡Viva Vaquita!, leaving $297.13 for other organizations and future endeavors of us and the Muskwa Club.

Now it is time to get ready for next month’s donation! If you haven’t already bought the book, or you want more, please purchase as many as you would like from https://www.createspace.com/4268018. Thank you!

Last chance for this month’s donation

If you buy my book before the midnight of tomorrow, August 1, 25% of the proceeds will go to ¡Viva Vaquita! in the very first monthly donation. Every month, I will be donating 25% of my book’s proceeds to ¡Viva Vaquita!, with the rest going to the ACSLA’s switch-out program and many other Vaquita causes. If you would like to donate to the Vaquita while receiving the first ever book on it, please visit https://www.createspace.com/4268018 and buy as many books as you would like. Thank you so much from the Vaquita! I will give the details of the donation after the deadline.

The big 3

According to leading Vaquita researcher Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, there are 3 initiatives that we members of the general public can participate in to legitimately make a difference in the Vaquita’s situation. They are:

1. Raise awareness
2. Convince restaurants to only buy their shrimp from safe sources
3. Raise money towards the switch-out program

The first one has so many different levels to it. This blog is an example of the online branch of public awareness, as is a Vaquita-related Facebook post. Another branch is face-to-face awareness, such as the tables manned by the Muskwa Club and ¡Viva Vaquita!, or a Vaquita speech at an event. Some other things that can raise awareness are books (mine is the only one so far), pamphlets, or public service announcements (especially on the radio). The online branch is the easiest and most effective, because you can instantly send information around the world with the click of a button. The hard part is getting the information to a large enough audience with the information being worthwhile enough that they will, in turn, pass it around to other people. Luckily, the Vaquita is a very worthwhile cause. So all you need to do is start a chain of posts about it, and those very posts could end up being read by every person on earth.

The second one is only for the dedicated Vaquita conservationist. It would require quite a bit of research and getting out of the house. For example, the next time you go to Red Lobster, ask your waiter where the shrimp comes from. If they don’t know, ask to speak with the manager. I honestly have never seen shrimp that was not farm-raised somewhere in Asia, but I always make sure. Always. Even though there is much debate as to how/where shrimp should be caught for maximum sustainability, anything other than gillnet-caught in the Gulf of California is fine from a Vaquita standpoint. It is most important to check restaurants and grocery stores for Vaquita-unsafe shrimp if you live near Mexico, in places like California and Arizona. There are many sites, including http://vaquita.tv/, that go into detail about sustainable seafood. After all, gillnet fishing is the only thing wiping out the Vaquita. Why not make sure that you aren’t supporting it?

The third and final initiative is raising money towards the switch-out program. The Muskwa Club and the American Cetacean Society Los Angeles Chapter have teamed up to create the only charity that sends money directly to the switch-out program, and nothing else. This is vital because the switch-out program is believed to be the best chance for the Vaquita, because it is unreasonable to think that the fishermen will just give up fishing for some unknown business that could get them nowhere financially. The switch-out is a best of both worlds situation, because the fishermen still can fish with the new nets that have proven to be as or more effective than gillnets, while the Vaquitas are put in little to no danger whatsoever. To donate to the new charity, please write a check to P.O. Box 1208, San Pedro, CA 90733-1208 and write Vaquita on the memo line. Yes, I know it is a cliché, but every dollar really does count. But the Muskwa Club has bigger plans. We are attempting to contact eco-conscious celebrities and billionaires as potential funding sources. Leonardo DiCaprio and Pierce Brosnan are both part of huge efforts to save tigers and whales, so why not the Vaquita? Warren Buffett just donated $2.6 billion to charity. Yes, you read that correctly. The entire switch-out program can be funded with, at most, $180 million. I am not necessarily saying we are going to get $180 million from Mr. Buffett, but it is exciting to think about what one human can do. He can literally save a species, in theory.

Maybe I will start playing the lottery.