A Vaquita conservationist’s biggest fear is the death of one of these magnificent creatures. This month, we are living the nightmare.
Three dead Vaquitas have been found in the past few weeks.
March madness indeed. Based on lacerations found during the autopsies, it is apparent that gillnet entanglement is the likely cause of death for these animals. Of course, this means that there is still illegal fishing happening, and that said fishing is killing Vaquitas, a species that cannot afford to lose even one individual.
The mortality rate of Vaquitas needs to be zero. For this to happen, enforcement needs to be stepped up permanently, fishing communities need to be educated and aided with sustainable fishing, and Totoaba swim bladder demand in Asia needs to be reduced.
To convince the Mexican government to take action on these issues, please sign this petition:
Thanks to a much-needed increase in enforcement (by both the government and NGOs) in the past year, it is not too late to save the Vaquita. However, it is awfully close to it.
Here is a translated statement from PROFEPA:
“Faced with the possibility that these specimens died in gillnets or because of human activities, authorities will intensify inspection activities and night, land, and sea surveillance, especially at sites identified as Totoaba networks; in addition to seeking a rapprochement with the fishing guild to sensitize its members to refrain from poaching activities and forbidden arts.”
Now is the time to act decisively.
Thanks to Ellen DeGeneres for talking about the critical issue of fishing net entanglement on her show. You can watch her interview with Captain Dave Anderson here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DlIPKvYJ04&sns=em. If you find an entangled or injured ocean animal, call your nearby agency: http://www.savethewhales.org/strandingsD-2.html.