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LT Barclay

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Member since: Fri Apr 15, 2011, 08:54 AM
Number of posts: 1,915

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Mexico launches plan to mark vaquita porpoise reserve

Source: ABC News

The Mexican government said Thursday it will use buoys to mark the reserve of the world's most endangered marine mammal, in a bid to save the last remaining 10 or so vaquita marina porpoises.
The Environment Department promised to provide social programs and jobs for fishing communities in the upper Gulf of California, the only place in the world the vaquita lives.

It said tourism, fish farms and better fishing practices would be encouraged in the area.
The government is faced with the challenge of ending illegal net fishing for totoaba, a fish whose swim bladder is considered a delicacy in China.

Environmentalists said the government program lacked sufficient details and stressed that more urgent measures are needed to save the vaquita from extinction.
Alejandro Olivera, the Mexico representative for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the measures "are not up to the level of urgency that is required."
"With 10 vaquitas left, what is needed is total protection and the immediate elimination of illegal nets from the vaquita's habitat," Olivera said.

Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/mexico-launches-plan-mark-vaquita-porpoise-reserve-61854473

Couldn't say it better than Alejandro. NOT the correct response, just some sleight of hand hoping to divert the world's attention.

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/49157359@N00/40417796283/in/dateposted-public/" title="vaquita_by_atolm_d90vcr9-fullview"><img src="" width="640" height="427" alt="vaquita_by_atolm_d90vcr9-fullview"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Will Mexico Save Its Vanishing Vaquita?

Source: New York Times

In recent decades, the sleek, wide-eyed vaquita porpoise has been pushed to the brink of extinction by poachers pursuing another critically endangered sea creature, the totoaba, a fish whose swim bladder sells on the Chinese black market for thousands of dollars. The porpoises end up caught in nets intended for the totoaba and killed as collateral damage.

There is little time left to act to save the vaquita, yet there is hope. For Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the fate of the little porpoise represents political opportunity and the chance of failure. He can do nothing and preside over the first sea mammal extinction in North America in decades. Or he can save one of Mexico’s national symbols and rescue a troubled fishing industry.

“This is doable even now,” said Brooke Bessesen, a conservationist and author of a new book, “Vaquita: Science Politics and Crime in the Sea of Cortez.” “We have to come up with solutions that buy time. This is not a numbers game. It’s a game of time.”

Yet the vaquita clings to life. In October, four were spotted in open water. The little porpoise may possess a unique genetic advantage that could allow it to recover in the wild if just left alone. The vaquita was never widely distributed, numbering perhaps only 5,000 at its modern height and located only in the Sea of Cortez. But there is no evidence that it has hit the bottleneck of birth defects from inbreeding often seen in declining populations.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/opinion/mexico-porpoise-extinction.html

NY Times!
OK, not my favorite paper NORMALLY, but I think it gets a lot of attention nationwide.

Great piece on the VAQUITA there is HOPE with immediate ACTION!!

Maybe this will finally get endangered species back in the national discussion. My family watched "Big Miracle" recently and the entire nation was captivated by the plight of 3 gray whales trapped in the ice. It is time the vaquita held our attention the same way.

As I posted here:
If we can't save the vaquita, no matter what our cause is, it is probably doomed. Saving the vaquita is an easy one. Small geographic area, not competing with humans, ONE reason, and easy fix. No nets, no death. A "NO GO" marine reserve would easily increase productivity in the rest of the Sea of Cortez.

Sea Shepherd is the group that has stuck by this and pulled the nets. Please consider helping. This could be the last year there are vaquita without your help.


<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/49157359@N00/32441588787/in/dateposted-public/" title="phocoena_sinus_by_angelmc18_d2m7kxr-fullview"><img src="" width="640" height="415" alt="phocoena_sinus_by_angelmc18_d2m7kxr-fullview"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Why does it matter if we save the Vaquita?

OK, I get it. There are a lot of other hot issues out there.
I also know that a LOT of us have disaster fatigue.
I know a LOT of us don't need more bad news.

So why do I post and post and post and post about the vaquita?

Well first I'm falling for the little critters.

But my point here is that this is a relatively small problem with very exact solutions. This isn't global warming and this isn't a Mars mission. This isn't how to make our nation more compassionate and secure.
BUT, this is a chance to draw a line. This is saving one spot of beauty in a world that is falling apart around us. Again we have a beautiful animal that is dying for one reason GREED, by one method ILLEGAL POACHING, with an enemy that is located in 3 precise locations (fishing towns in the Sea of Cortez), who are only armed with ROCKS and PLASTIC NETS and they are NOT wealthy.

So if we can't draw a line and pull together to save the vaquita, how are we going to fix global warming? Create a culture where racism and xenophobia are not acceptable? Promote hope and tolerance rather than hate and violence as solutions? Cooperate rather than compete? Show we can rise to a challenge rather than express our sorrow and regret (or is it thoughts and prayers)?

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/49157359@N00/32441588467/in/dateposted-public/" title="the_desert_porpoise_by_namu_the_orca_dbm03nc-pre"><img src="" width="640" height="448" alt="the_desert_porpoise_by_namu_the_orca_dbm03nc-pre"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Sea Shepherd finds dead vaquita

I hope and pray they know our hearts are with them. We're desperate for them to succeed and to hear of a recovering population in the next few years.

But where is the U.N.? Where is the U.S. Coast Guard? Where are the world's navies? Can't some nation somewhere send boats? Is there some other nation that Mexico trusts?

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/49157359@N00/32441588467/in/dateposted-public/" title="the_desert_porpoise_by_namu_the_orca_dbm03nc-pre"><img src="" width="640" height="448" alt="the_desert_porpoise_by_namu_the_orca_dbm03nc-pre"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Body of Suspected Vaquita Found, Activists Say

Source: NBC Los Angeles

The environmentalist group Sea Shepherd said Thursday that it found the body of what appeared to be a vaquita porpoise, one of perhaps only 10 that remain in the world.
The group said the remains were too badly decomposed for immediate identification and had been turned over to authorities for further study.
Two Sea Shepherd patrol boats found the animal in a net Tuesday in the Gulf of California, the only place the critically endangered tiny porpoises live. The group patrols the gulf, also known as the Sea of Cortez, removing illegal fishing nets. The vaquitas get caught in nets set illegally for totoaba, a fish whose swim bladder is considered a delicacy in China.
In a report issued earlier this week, an international commission of experts estimated only six to 22 vaquitas remain alive.

Read more: https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/vaquita-dead-porpoise-endangered-mexico-507160571.html


Please consider supporting Sea Shepherd.

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/49157359@N00/32441588467/in/dateposted-public/" title="the_desert_porpoise_by_namu_the_orca_dbm03nc-pre"><img src="" width="640" height="448" alt="the_desert_porpoise_by_namu_the_orca_dbm03nc-pre"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Mexico says only 22 VAQUITA porpoises remain

Source: The Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — Experts said Wednesday that only 22 vaquitas remain in the Gulf of California, where a grim, increasingly violent battle is playing out between emboldened fishermen and the last line of defense for the smallest and most endangered porpoise in the world.
Jorge Urban, a biology professor at the Baja California Sur University, said the 22 vaquitas were heard over a network of acoustic monitors. That was in fact higher than many had expected; some had estimated as little as 15 would remain in the Gulf, also known as the Sea of Cortez, the only place in the world where the vaquita marina is found.

It may be a sign the vaquita is holding on, and what is keeping it alive is a thin line of defenders: Every night 22 volunteer crew members from ships operated by the environmentalist group Sea Shepherd go out to search the upper Gulf for hidden gill nets that catch prized — but protected — totoaba fish and drown vaquitas.

It is increasingly dangerous work. Over the last month, the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat has suffered two attacks in which dozens of fast fishing boats pounded the ship with rocks and firebombs.
“If we stop operations, the vaquita will go extinct,” said Sea Shepherd first mate Jack Hutton. “It’s just out here removing nets, if we stop removing them then there’s no hope for the vaquita.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/mexico-says-only-22-vaquita-porpoises-remain/2019/03/06/8431e67e-4041-11e9-85ad-779ef05fd9d8_story.html

I'm BEGGING YOU to not ignore this article.

The vaquita are beautiful, mysterious, shy. They are unique in the world. There are only a few left. Cuter than puppies, more squee than kittens. More mystery than a Murder She Wrote episode. She is the VAQUITA!!!


PLEASE consider supporting Sea Shepherd. This is a last ditch effort. Bottom of the ninth with 2 outs and 2 strikes. 15th round and Rocky is getting pounded. Final 10 seconds of the 4th quarter and the other team leads by 5 with the ball on our 1 yard line.

Extinction is FOREVER.

This is NOT a historic fishery. The fishermen moved into the area ONLY to exploit the Totoaba for the Chinese. Globalization fans can claim it was for the good all they want, but damn Nixon to the darkest reaches of hell. Now the Chinese have the money to destroy some of the worlds most beloved species and do it by exploiting their people in the modern version of slavery. Damn and triple damn.

Also please support the Whistleblower Act. This program has ALREADY been FUNDED, but never implemented.

Dramatic video of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel being attacked in Sea of Cortez

Please help save the Vaquita porpoise (less than 20 left): https://seashepherd.org/campaigns/milagro/

Please help save the Vaquita porpoise (less than 20 left): https://seashepherd.org/campaigns/milagro/

Please help save the Vaquita porpoise (less than 20 left): https://seashepherd.org/campaigns/milagro/

Another perspective on saving the VAQUITA porpoise from the Elephant Action League

Interesting part of the commentary says that banning imports of seafood from Mexico that is not certified as safe for the vaquita was a mistake and the EAL opposed it. Their logic is that there is no longer any legal fishery in the northern Sea of Cortez.

I disagree with the criticism of the ban. Actually, I think if the whole area was closed to fishing and established as a marine reserve, there would be better fishing overall, and there would be no activity that would threaten the vaquita. But I do agree that increasing pressure on the middlemen and traffickers would help. Please let your representatives know you support increasing pressure on wildlife traffickers (US is 2nd largest market in the world).
Existing whistleblower program could help stop trafficking:

An immediate step might be to require transducers that mimic the sound of motors on legal nets, as the vaquita are said to avoid boats.

Also interesting that this person from the EAL doesn't say much about Sea Shepherd, but the representative speaking here had only good things to say about them:
Meet the producers of Sea of Shadows and EAL:

I'm still behind Sea Shepherd, they are the only group removing the nets. And the article says that the fishermen are beginning to doubt that the illegal fishery is worth the investment.

Hopefully the groups will continue to work together. Way too important to give in to bickering.

Just got a video of the campaign from Sea Shepherd in my e-mail:

Missed Opportunity Is the vaquita's plight linked to the US government's failure to take advantage o

Source: Earth Island Journal

The doll-faced porpoises — the world’s smallest cetaceans — are notoriously shy, avoiding boats and barely breaking the surface when they rise for air, as they must every three to four minutes. And at the time, there were likely just 245 vaquitas left in the world.
Such a sighting would be impossible today. According to Hall, no more than 15 vaquitas may now remain in the northern Gulf of California, their exclusive home range. (The last official estimate, from 2016, put the number at around 30.) Vaquita numbers have nosedived — by nearly 50 percent annually during the past six years — due to illegal fishing. “They’re unintended bycatch,” Hall explains. “Gillnets are the culprit. They’re designed to entangle fish and not let them go. Hundreds of vaquita have drowned silently, and the world just didn’t know.” Despite best efforts to protect them, it’s possible — even likely — that the critically endangered porpoise may be extinct within a year or two.

...many fishermen are after the valuable totoaba, an endangered giant sea bass found only in the central and northern portions of the Gulf of California. Totoaba swim bladders (a buoyancy organ possessed by most bony fish) are coveted in China, where they’re turned into a soup believed to enhance fertility and benefit general health. Some blame Mexico for the vaquita’s collapse. But Stephen Kohn, a Washington, DC-based attorney and the executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, argues that the United States also bears a large measure of responsibility. That’s because totoaba bladders are often smuggled through the US on their way to China.

According to Kohn, the best way to fight wildlife crime is to tap informants within trafficking groups — the poachers or the middlemen who transport illegal wildlife parts to a final destination — to help bust crime rings preying on endangered species. Enlisting whistleblowers in the Gulf and across totoaba smuggling routes, he believes, could have helped law enforcement break up what he calls the “totoaba cartel.”

Read more: http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/magazine/entry/missed-opportunity-vaquita-whistleblowers

Save (insert your favorite species here) and the VAQUITA.
Write your representative and ask them to support using existing whistleblower laws to protect wildlife.


Help save the Vaquita. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is the only ones actively removing the gillnets that are literally walls of death.


Video of a vaquita family (for post 1000)...

The video is 4 months old, and the report is a bit optimistic, but there may be hope. Population estimates have been made by trying to correlate visual observations with acoustic data. But there are wide areas of the Sea of Cortez in the vaquita refuge, where the acoustic buoys have been removed. They are quite expensive and whether it is intentional or not, there are areas where they constantly disappear. So there may be pockets of vaquita that haven't been counted (I hope).

Support Sea Shepherd's efforts please. They are the only ones on the frontlines removing the walls of death killing the vaquita and many other animals in the Sea of Cortez:


Just noticed that this is post 1000 for me!!! I love it that this is the one! Can't send money? Show the vaquita some lovin' and rec this post!! Sea Shepherd is working hard to be sure we don't lose the cutest and most endangered marine mammal. Someone who hasn't seen my posts so far is willing to give, but the word needs to spread.

No they don't swim up to us and welcome us into their world like dolphins do, but isn't a little mystery fascinating? Don't we want that creature that makes us wait expectantly hoping to catch the merest glimpse?
The vaquita was first noted in modern times as the fishery in the Sea of Cortez expanded from the south in the 1920's. It was first described in scientific literature in 1958 only based on skulls washed ashore. It was only known to the world in the 1970's. By 1992, the population had declined enough that Jean-Michel Cousteau worked out the first agreement with the government of Mexico to protect the vaquita.
So sweet vaquita, we hardly know you. We can't lose you.
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