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Good News for the World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal!

By Claire Kaufman, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager

The beautiful vaquita is the most endangered species of marine mammal in the world, found only in the northern Gulf of California. In 2011 there were thought to be 100 vaquitas left. Today, fewer than 30 animals remain. Their decline is largely due to gill nets – huge, invisible nets used to collect shrimp that catch innocent vaquita as bycatch. When vaquitas get caught in gill nets, these intelligent and harmless creatures are unable to escape, dying alongside the shrimp.

Photo: Christian Faesi, Copyright: Omar Vidal

That’s why, on June 30, 2017, vaquitas were jumping (out of the water) for joy that the Mexican government indefinitely extended the gill net ban that began in 2015!

While this is good news for vaquita, fishermen are struggling with how to make ends meet. Gill nets have proven to be the most efficient gear for capturing shrimp and other fish. Without alternatives, illegal gill net fishing will continue. Until the complete and permanent removal of gill nets from the vaquitas’ habitat, extinction is imminent.

Photo: NOAA Fisheries

We need your support to help fishermen try out new gear for catching shrimp this fall. YOUR donations have already funded over 260 days working with local fisherman to test vaquita-safe gear. The initial results are positive, but more testing is needed. If successful, this gear may be the solution we have all been seeking. Keep your fingers crossed! It’s for a good porpoise.

With your help, we can continue to work on vital work to save the vaquita from extinction. Click here to create a safe future for the vaquita!

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by Claire Kaufman, July 28, 2017