International Save the Vaquita Day falls on July 18 this year, and will be conducted virtually to ensure safety for all involved. However, just because it is online doesn’t mean you can’t participate! Our annual t-shirt campaign has only 3 days left, and we need your support! Please consider purchasing this year’s t-shirt. All proceeds going to the Muskwa Club, Inc.’s vaquita conservation efforts, and it is a great way to spread the word about the plight of this species. We would love to see your selfies wearing the shirt on July 18 with the hashtags #SaveTheVaquita and #ISTVD2020!
The #ISTVD2016 t-shirt campaign just ended, at it was by far our most successful campaign ever! We sold 62 shirts, raising a total of $509.99 for the Muskwa Club, Inc. and VIVA Vaquita! Also, everyone who bought a shirt now has an awesome way to spread the word about the species, and of course, the perfect shirt to wear if they host an ISTVD table next year!
I can’t thank everyone who bought shirts enough! You guys made it a great day for the Vaquita!
Today is #GivingTuesday! This is a day dedicated to donating to charities and other good causes in the holiday spirit. We spend a lot of time buying things this time of year, but how about giving?
Luckily, there is a way to do both! I have extended the #ISTVD2016 t-shirt campaign by 3 more days because the Muskwa Club has stepped up and will be handling international orders! That means if you live outside the U.S., you can now get a shirt! Email me at <firstname.lastname@example.org> with the amount and sizes of the t-shirts you want.
And if you live in the U.S., you have a second chance to get your shirts! Remember, all profits go to the Muskwa Club, Inc. and VIVA Vaquita’s International Save the Vaquita Day 2016 efforts! Thank you from the Vaquita!
Want to be a part of the action for International Save the Vaquita Day 2016? Do you want to show your support for the world’s most endangered marine mammal? Do you want to raise money for the Muskwa Club and VIVA Vaquita for #ISTVD2016? Do you want a stylish, limited edition t-shirt that will make everyone around you jealous and curious about this mysterious “Vaquita”?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, this campaign is the right one for you.
Only during the month of November, you can purchase a cool #ISTVD2016 t-shirt for only $19! This shirt makes a perfect gift for the holidays, or you can splurge and spoil yourself for a good cause! (Or both!) The more, the better, because if we don’t reach our goal of 50 shirts sold, the campaign will not run!
But remember, the campaign ends on November 30, and we need to reach our goal of 50 shirts, or else nobody will get them! Let’s make this ISTVD the biggest and best one yet!
Thank you and Viva Vaquita!
It is with great pleasure that I announce that I am the new president of the Muskwa Club, Inc. I will be taking over for William Whittenbury, who is heading off to Northwestern University (but don’t worry, he will still be running the college department of Muskwa). I am extremely excited as to what the next few years will hold for me and the Muskwa Club, and whatever happens, I know that we will be making a huge difference in this world. Feel free to watch my official inauguration speech below.
Please read this wonderful article from the Christian Science Monitor about the always-inspiring William Whittenbury, who I am lucky to know. 🙂
Happy Friday! As if you need any cheering up on a Friday, I have even more good news to go along with the new 2-year gillnet ban.
After 40 years, the United States has finally made the decision to ban all seafood imports that are not marine-mammal safe. The ultimate form of a boycott, not only will this save hundreds of thousands of marine mammals from unnecessary death, it will encourage Mexican fishermen to switch to safe nets due to the increased demand of sustainable seafood by the US. Read the full article, http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/26080, below:
“In a landmark settlement reached yesterday, more than 650,000 whales, dolphins and other “bycatch” from fishing will be saved from accidental killing.
Despite US efforts to protect marine mammals in its own waters, we continue to import seafood from countries that don’t abide by our laws.
The lawsuit forces the US government to adopt long overdue policies that ban imports from those countries. All countries we import from will have to meet the same marine mammal protection standards required of US fishermen – a 40-year-old provision of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Fishing gear is the most significant threat to whale and dolphin populations worldwide. For example, Vaquita – the world’s smallest porpoise – is close to extinction because so many are caught in Mexico’s shrimp gillnets. There are only 97 left. Under the new policy, that shrimp would be barred from entering the US until fishing fleets meet standards that protect Vaquita.
“This law provides real, enforceable protections for marine mammals and sets up an even playing field that allows our fishermen to be competitive in the US market. If we’d had these standards 40 years ago, we wouldn’t be scrambling today to save the imperiled Vaquita. Thankfully, if this law is implemented, other species won’t share their fate,” says Zak Smith of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Americans eat 5 billion pounds of seafood each year, about 90% of which is imported and half, wild-caught.
The settlement in the US Court of International Trade is on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Natural Resources Defense Council. The US government has until 2016 to develop standards that imports must meet.
It’s supported by an executive order on oceans from President Obama last year, which takes aim at rampant seafood fraud and the global black market fish trade. He directed federal agencies to develop a comprehensive program that deters illegal fishing and prevents illegally caught fish from entering the US marketplace (20-32% of all wild-caught seafood!).
Global Fishing Watch will be there to help by exposing illegal practices and creating a deterrent to breaking the law.”
This new law will tie in very nicely with all of VIVA Vaquita and the Muskwa Club’s plans during the new 2-year ban. All of these new developments, if well-implemented, might have come just in time to save the Vaquita.
If we can save the Vaquita through sustainable fishing, we are showing the world that we can coexist with animals without one or the other suffering. Also, it will be an example of what can be done to save a species, inspiring other conservationists to not give up. So what I’m saying is, not only does it matter for the Vaquita itself, but saving this species will have timeless global implications.
Greenpeace’s petition was a big part of this new ban, garnering over 320,000(!) signatures, each one sending a letter directly to the President of Mexico. But they made an important point:
“There are some missing measures that must be included for this [2-year ban] to be fully effective. The most important is to strengthen surveillance and enforcement. Illegal gillnetting in the Vaquita habitat is common and must be eliminated. We’re also urging the Mexican government to make this a permanent ban on gillnet fishing.
By the end of this month the proposal will have passed through consultation and be ready for a final draft. This doesn’t mean the campaign is over, as there may be more campaigning needed… there’s a big difference between what’s written on paper and what happens on the water.”
It is wonderful to have such a big powerhouse organization like Greenpeace fighting for the Vaquita.
Each day I get more confident that we really will save this species.
I’m sure many of you who are reading this don’t really know what’s going on in the Vaquita world. And unless you are in VIVA Vaquita, I don’t really expect you to.
So here’s the rundown:
We all were crossing our fingers on Thanksgiving in hopes of the Mexican government’s Vaquita announcement being good news. In typical fashion, the announcement came over a week late. And it wasn’t really a public announcement. In summary, the announcement was that in San Felipe and El Golfo de Santa Clara (not Puerto Peñasco) shrimp (not corvina) gillnetting and longline fishing will be banned for a year, while compensating for the fishermen’s losses. At first, this sounds like good news, a strong start with a lot of potential success. Well, there’s one kicker they didn’t mention: it’s optional.
When I found this out, I felt like the world was collapsing. In terms of gillnet fishing, anything that’s optional means they aren’t going to do it. It’s just a plain fact. Even when it isn’t optional they still illegally fish. On December 5th, in the Vaquita Refuge, what is thought of as one of the few remaining safe havens for the Vaquita, 90 boats, many of which had gillnets were photographed in an aerial survey. 90. And that’s just in the Refuge.
So, it seemed to us at VIVA Vaquita that the Mexican government wasn’t taking CIRVA’s recommendations for a complete ban seriously. And after much, MUCH consideration and taking account for all variables and outcomes, here is the official statement from VIVA Vaquita:
VAQUITA NEARING EXTINCTION!
In July 2014, at the 5th Meeting of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), it was estimated that the Vaquita population had decreased to only 97 individuals, and the rate of decline had accelerated to an estimated 18.5% annually (CIRVA 2014). Recent evidence indicates that about 28 Vaquitas (29% of the current population) were killed in gillnets in the 2013/2014 period (Urrutia-Osorio et al. 2014). Despite CIRVA’s strong and urgent call for an immediate ban on all gillnets in the Vaquita’s range, as a critical measure to avoid the species going extinct in the next couple of years, the Mexican Government has not implemented any such ban. The shrimp gillnet fishery continues legally, and there is now rampant illegal fishing with gillnets inside the Vaquita Refuge. This is in addition to the illegal gillnet fishery for Totoaba, itself an endemic and endangered species, which has apparently expanded, and is now fueling the drastic decline in Vaquita numbers.
The Vaquita population most likely now numbers less than 90 individuals (perhaps much less), and is rapidly heading toward extinction, with a probable point of no return in the next year. Valuable time has been lost during the 2014 shrimp gillnet fishing season, with the Mexican Government delaying action, and vaquita numbers declining further.
In light of this, ¡VIVA Vaquita! is calling on the Mexican Government to immediately implement and enforce a two-year ban on all gillnets in the Vaquita’s range, as recommended by CIRVA. We ask all consumers to purchase and support only those Mexican seafood products (i.e., fish and shrimp) that have been caught with methods other than gillnets (methods such as trawls, longlines, or hook & line gear). Check product packaging for place of origin and ask your seafood servers/vendors to serve ONLY non-gillnet caught items. A two-year ban will buy time for the Vaquita, and allow for the full conversion of fisheries to more sustainable gear. Support for fishermen who are willing to use alternative gear (i.e., less damaging than gillnets) is essential for the survival of the vaquita, as well as other marine life in the Gulf of California.
CIRVA (International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita). 2014. Report of the 5th Meeting of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita. Ensenada, Baja California, México, 8-10 July 2014, Unpublished Report, 38pp.
Urrutia-Osorio, M. F., A. M. Jaramillo-Legorreta and O. S. Osa-Nishizaki. 2014. Analysis of the artisanal fisheries’ fishing effort dynamics in San Felipe as a bycatch modeling tool for the vaquita (Phocoena sinus). Presentation at American Cetacean Society’s 14th International Conference, 7-9 November 2014, Newport Beach, CA.
We encourage you to avoid buying any seafood products from Mexico, unless you are positive they are from Vaquita-safe sources. This can only work if it spreads through social media like wildfire.
The Muskwa Club has also formed an extremely well thought-out five-part plan that we will begin implementing immediately.
The plan contains the following five parts:
1. Educate consumers in China and Chinese restaurants in America about the negative effects of the Totoaba trade for the Vaquita and the fish itself.
2. Design an efficient, cheap, and Vaquita-safe trawl net that will be given to fishermen as a replacement for gillnets.
3. Continue educating the public about the Vaquita’s plight, including International Save the Vaquita Day.
4. Reach out to celebrities due to their ability to raise funds for the ban and the safe nets, as well as begin a public outcry in favor of the Vaquita
5. Keep everyone’s spirits up in the Vaquita community. It is not too late for the species, unless we don’t work together or stay positive.
We will do everything in our power to make these five steps come true, but there is only so much a group of teenagers can do.
None of this will be possible without your generous support. We ask you to please donate to VIVA Vaquita, as now is a more important time than ever: http://www.vivavaquita.org/donations.html
VIVA Vaquita’s site has undergone a major makeover, which will be published any day now.
Another extremely helpful step you can take is to sign and share our Vaquita petitions, the newest being an urgent letter to the Mexican president and others: https://www.change.org/p/enrique-pe%C3%B1a-nieto-stop-the-extinction-of-the-vaquita-porpoise.
I am pleased to say the word is really getting out about the Vaquita. Nearly all of my relatives have called me saying they saw the Vaquita in the news, and my aunt even sent me this newspaper clipping:
And any time you need any motivation to help the Vaquita, just take a look at this picture:
I would like to give a big thanks to everyone who bought a Vaquita t-shirt during the Muskwa Club’s campaign. All in all, we sold 47 shirts, raising $160.63 for the Muskwa Club. I hope everyone enjoys their t-shirts; I know I will! While we wait for them to ship, please keep your fingers crossed that the Mexican government’s upcoming Vaquita announcement will be a positive one!
With the holidays right around the corner, now’s the time to start buying gifts for your loved ones. Money is tight these days, so gifts where some the proceeds go to a good cause is a great deal. Luckily for you, there are many such gifts that are related to the Vaquita! Let’s take a look.
The CEDO Eco Shop is a wonderful place to buy awesome gifts for the holiday season. From Vaquita t-shirts to booklets, to even a special link to Amazon that gives a portion of any purchase to CEDO, they have it all.
CEDO works extensively with the Vaquita, so it is one of the best charities to donate to.
Another wonderful holiday gift for that special someone would be CEDO wine, complete with one of six creatures of the Gulf on the label (of course including the Vaquita). And a portion of the proceeds goes to CEDO!
The VIVA Vaquita La Tienda has some wonderful Vaquita-specific items, with a new collection by Memuco: http://www.printfection.com/vivavaquita/NEW–memuco-vaquita-items/_s_583346
A perfect gift is the Adopt-a-Vaquita kit from Save the Whales. For $25 you get:
- An 8 x 10 glossy color photograph of a Vaquita in the wild
- Adopt-a-Vaquita certificate personalized to your specifications
- 4 page color newsletter about Vaquita
- A letter to the United Nations for your signature
- Save The Whales window sticker
- VIVA Vaquita window sticker
- A Vaquita dog tag necklace (suitable for all ages and both sexes)
With the second edition of the world’s only Vaquita book coming in the near future, you might want to keep it in mind: https://www.createspace.com/4268018
And my final suggestion is a Save the Vaquita! t-shirt from the Muskwa Club’s campaign, with 100% of the proceeds going to this non-profit. Remember, if 34 t-shirts are not bought, none will not be printed. So please, support a great cause and look stylish while you do it: https://www.booster.com/savethevaquita97