International Save the Vaquita Day tomorrow!

I want YOU

If you haven’t already heard, tomorrow (or today in some places), Saturday, July 12, is International Save the Vaquita Day. ISTVD is a day dedicated to protecting the innocent little Vaquita. The world has been rough to this petite porpoise, and tomorrow is a chance for us to start paying it back. So what will you be doing for International Save the Vaquita Day? Below is a list of confirmed venues for tomorrow. Please check out Facebook or email me at <gl.tamarin123@gmail.com> to find out what times the tables will be. If you can’t find out, a good bet is late morning, and most tables will last for at least a 3-4 hours. Please click here to spread the word, and here to sign VIVA Vaquita’s petition. For a lot more information on ISTVD, check out: https://vlogvaquita.com/international-save-the-vaquita-day-2014/. And if you can’t make it to one of these tables, there will be a Tweetstorm going on tomorrow; all you have to do is write a tweet that includes the hashtags “#SaveTheVaquita” or “#ISTVD” to help make them trending worldwide. If you want, you can check out @vlogvaquita for some pre-written Vaquita tweets that you can copy and paste for the Tweetstorm.

Thanks to everyone who plans on participating in ISTVD and a huge round of applause to all of the organizers!

List of Events & Locations:

UNITED STATES

CALIFORNIA
Long Beach, CA
Aquarium of the Pacific

Monterey, CA
American Cetacean Society – Museum of Monterey, Custom House Plaza

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Point Vicente Interpretive Center

San Diego, CA (4 sites)
• Cabrillo National Monument, Pt. Loma
• Living Coast Discovery Center, Chula Vista
• SD Natural History Museum, Balboa Park
• Tecolote Shores, South, Mission Bay Park

San Pedro, CA
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Santa Cruz, CA
Save The Whales – Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center

ARIZONA
Biosphere 2 (10 am to 2 pm), Tucson

HAWAII – OAHU
Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, Kapolei
Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu

OREGON
Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport

VIRGINIA
Virginia Aquarium, Virginia Beach

AUSTRALIA
Southern Cross University, East Lismore, NSW
Community Center, Byron Bay, NSW

AUSTRIA
Vienna

CHINA
Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, Hong Kong

MEXICO
Dr. Jorge Urban – Estudiantes Somemna, La Paz

NETHERLANDS
Warnsveld, Gelderland

Thanks to William Whittenbury and the Muskwa Club for arranging many of these locations & making the map below.

Map View of International Save The Vaquita Day 2014

Cooking to save the Vaquita: Part 2

Part 1: https://vlogvaquita.com/2013/10/26/cooking-to-save-the-vaquita/

I strongly believe that the best way to help the Vaquita is to promote sustainable seafood (and promote the Vaquita as you are doing it). As Barbara Taylor said in this article, “Fishermen are more likely to convert to Vaquita-friendly fishing gear if there is market incentive to do so.”

What is sustainable fishing in terms of the Vaquita? I think of it in 3 levels; Worst: Gillnet-caught from Vaquita’s range, Good: Anything else, and Best: Vaquita-friendly trawl from the Vaquita’s range. The reason this is the best is because not only are you not supporting gillnets, you are supporting their ‘rival,’ giving them “market incentive to convert to Vaquita-friendly fishing gear.” Of course, you generally don’t just find Vaquita-friendly shrimp in the grocery store, except for maybe very close to the Vaquita’s range, and even if you do, how do you know it is actually Vaquita-safe? So with this in mind, how are you supposed to support Vaquita-friendly shrimp if you can’t find any? The answer is shrimp festivals:

“WWF Mexico, with funds from the US Marine Mammal Commission and several private foundations are planning a series of events to promote Vaquita-safe seafood. The hope is that this will do for Vaquita what ‘dolphin-safe’ labeling on cans of tuna did for millions of dolphins in the eastern Pacific. These events will feature top chefs serving Vaquita-safe shrimp alongside Vaquita wine. The idea is to connect the fishermen who are sustainably harvesting seafood with outlets that cater to conscientious consumers, and rewarding those fishermen with a bit higher price for their value-added product. The events will need planning, labor, and folks to enjoy the food.”

Barbara Taylor

These events are incredibly important ways to help the Vaquita, and are completely accessible to the general public. The amazing group San Felipe Pescados y Mariscos recently had one of these events in Mexico. This group is doing exactly what needs to be done for the Vaquita: monitor and promote sustainable seafood from the Upper Gulf of California, including Vaquita-friendly labeling. If you can, please attend these kinds of events, show the fishermen that we do appreciate their efforts to save the Vaquita, and enjoy some of the best shrimp there is.

But what if you have my problem: location? There are still ways to support sustainable fishing without visiting a Vaquita-friendly shrimp festival near the Vaquita. The best is to make your own Vaquita-friendly seafood dish (remember my list above; if it says wild-caught in Mexico, don’t risk it. Though it could be Vaquita-safe, there is a higher chance it was gillnet-caught). Create your own recipe, or pick any of the endless dishes online or in cookbooks. Use Seafood Watch (or their great app) as your guide to make the right choices for your meal’s ingredients. Once you finish making your delicious dish, please send some pictures of it to me at gl.tamarin123@gmail.com so I can spread it around the Vaquita community! Please, share this with your friends so we can make this a really big movement!

Here is my holiday Shrimp Scampi with MSC-certified sustainable shrimp. It tasted beyond amazing!

Shrimp Scampi

New Vaquita short film!

In October I posted Chris Johnson’s new Vaquita short film. You can read that post here: https://vlogvaquita.com/2013/10/07/new-vaquita-short-film/. The video was taken down for a little while, but was re-launched on December 8 at the Society for Marine Mammology Conference in Dunedin, New Zealand. You can read all about the extraordinary video, and of course watch it, on the Whale Trackers blog (also below): http://www.whaletrackers.com/new-vaquita-short-film/. Please share!

Also, Argent Aqua Jewelry just came out with an update to this pendant: a Vermeil and diamond Vaquita. Quite a holiday gift, and $12.25 from each purchase goes to Vaquita conservation!

Please don’t forget to think about the Vaquita over the holidays. I know it is hard to worry about a porpoise while you are chowing down on a warm apple pie, but the little things really do make a huge difference. For example, you can Adopt-a-Vaquita for someone as a gift, or donate a few dollars from a Christmas card to ¡Viva Vaquita!. Maybe make a Vaquita-conscious holiday meal, buy a beautiful Vaquita item from ¡Viva Vaquita!’s gift store (with the new Memuco collection), or easiest of all, write a Facebook post or Tweet about everyone’s favorite critically endangered porpoise. And please, show us what you did! Leave a comment or shoot me an email at gl.tamarin123@gmail.com saying the wonderful things you came up with this holiday season!

Vaquita art

I don’t think there is a better way to share an idea than through visual art. Something about an image evokes a feeling that cannot be accessed any other way. Getting out the message to save the Vaquita has proven to be quite difficult, especially through writing. So now I will be starting to draw a lot more Vaquita pictures and make as many Vaquita crafts as I can. I really hope all you artists out there will help me on my mission to spread the word. I have recently set up an account on the amazing site deviantART: http://goldenliontamarin.deviantart.com/, where I have posted and will continue to post my Vaquita artwork. I strongly encourage everyone to make some sort of Vaquita art and email it to me at gl.tamarin123@gmail.com. Get your kids to make something too! Sometimes a child’s drawing makes even more of an impact than an adult’s. I have started off the endeavor with a Vaquita word cloud.

What will you do?

Vaquita Word Cloud

Expedition summary

The 2013 Vaquita Expedition has drawn to a close. Though it was not exactly what everyone had been hoping for, there were some upsides to the expedition. Here is the email I received from Tom Jefferson on Friday:

“Greetings,
We have just returned from our 24-day Vaquita photographic expedition in San Felipe. The project had some bad luck and we were not able to get high-quality images of Vaquitas, as we had hoped. Here are some lowlights and highlights of the project:

Lowlights
1) The only Vaquita images obtained were very distant and blurry.
2) Of 22 potential days to work, nearly half (10) were too windy to even consider going out to sea. We had very little calm conditions (Beaufort 0-1), which is important for finding Vaquitas.
3) In one of our sightings that presented good photo prospects, three large trawlers moved through and scared the Vaquitas away just as we were attempting to get photos.
4) We did not observe any fishing with the new mini-trawl nets.

Highlights
1) We conducted 558 miles of searches for Vaquitas while traveling in two boats.
2) We conducted over 20 hours of intensive ‘stop and drift’ searches while sitting in the water with engines off.
3) We had 11 cetacean sightings (including several groups of long-beaked common dolphins, and large whales).
4) We observed three groups of Vaquitas at relatively close range.
5) We did not observe any illegal fishing with gillnets in the Vaquita Refuge.
6) We conducted a talk on the Vaquita for about 45 people at El Dorado Ranch.
7) We distributed educational brochures and coloring books to several businesses in town.

We are disappointed that we did not obtain any high-quality Vaquita images this year, but are not giving up. We are re-evaluating our approach for future expeditions.

Best wishes,
Tom
¡VIVA Vaquita!”

I was, of course, frustrated that the weather did not cooperate, and that once again the bad timing of large vessels scared away good photo subjects. It would have been incredible to get new Vaquita images to use for publicity, or at least witness the use of Vaquita-friendly fishing gear. Though it wasn’t an ideal mission, there are a few very important positives that we should focus on. First of all is the fact that they were able to go on the expedition in the first place. This means that they are getting the funding they need in order to successfully complete the endeavors they feel necessary to save the Vaquita. Going by the goals that I set in previous posts, the mission was technically a success in that they saw multiple groups of Vaquitas (more than in 2010!) as well as no illegal fishing. Firstly, this means that they are still alive and probably reproducing because when Vaquita are in groups it usually includes a mother and her calf, which would have been born in the spring, meaning Vaquitas were mating within the last few years and hopefully the summer of this year so calves are born next spring. Secondly, if there are no gillnets in the Vaquita Refuge, then the mortality rate of the species will be about zero, meaning any births will increase the population. I hope this expedition helped and will continue to help the spreading of awareness for the Vaquita, from the talk, to the brochures, to the coloring books. It would also be great if everyone reading this post shared their knowledge of the Vaquita on all their social networks and to all their friends. There is still hope for the Vaquita if we work together!

Email Obama

For my 200th post, I am asking you to email President Obama with this message asking him to make July 6 National Save the Vaquita Day. His “Other Inquiries” email address is support@barackobama.com. Thanks from the Muskwa Club!

________________________________________________________________

June 19, 2013

Dear President Obama:

We have an easy, no-cost way for you to make a critical difference to precious lives. We, the Muskwa Club, would like you to proclaim July 6, 2013 as “National Save the Vaquita Day.” The Muskwa Club was started by kids to promote value-added activities for Middle School and High School age students. We take field trips to places of educational interest, we build engineering projects, we host a speaker series to showcase our members’ passions, and we engage in community service activities. Saving the Vaquita has become our number one service project.

The Vaquita is the smallest, arguably cutest and definitely most endangered marine mammal. These precious porpoises live in the Sea of Cortez and have a range only one quarter the size of metropolitan Los Angeles. Only about 170 Vaquita remain in existence today and approximately 30 die each year due to accidental gill net entanglement. If nothing more is done, they will be functionally extinct by 2017. We can’t let this happen! Solutions have been created such as Vaquita safe nets, and the Mexican government is working on the problem. However, the current economic climate necessitates that we all pitch in and help our neighbors to the south.

Our club is working very hard to raise awareness of the Vaquita. The more people who know about these beloved porpoises, the more likely they will receive what they need to survive extinction. So far we have hosted five Vaquita awareness tables at local events in the Southern California area. We plan to host at least three more during World Ocean’s Day on both the west and east coasts of the US. However, our really big push will be on July 6, 2013 when we will host a tri-coastal event. The Waikiki Aquarium in your home State, and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, CA have confirmed. The National Aquarium is very interested in allowing us to host a table there and we have tentative agreements with seven more aquariums across the country. All we need from you is to officially proclaim the day “National Save the Vaquita Day.” That will help promote media attention to our efforts, show that you care about this important international issue, and shine a much needed light on the plight of the Vaquita.

In addition to our awareness table efforts, we are also producing a series of videos about the Vaquita, have our own website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube Channel, and we speak locally to school science classes about the Vaquita. We’ve established alliances with the American Cetacean Society, Los Serenos de Pt. Vicente, Viva Vaquita, and V-log. At our request, the American Cetacean Society, Los Angeles Chapter has set up a fund to which people can contribute toward the net switch out program. We do not collect money, being minors, but we feel we can be a force for change. Please help us!

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Obama-Thank-You1