The Independent, Reddit
The Government of Mexico, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and the Carlos Slim Foundation entered into an agreement to support efforts to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.
The agreement which makes a temporary ban on using gillnets in vaquita habitat, permanent, was negotiated and signed by Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, award-winning actor and avid environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio and multi-billionaire telecoms magnate Carlos Slim.
“This action is a critical step towards ensuring that the Gulf of California continues to be both vibrant and productive, especially for species like the critically endangered vaquita,” DiCaprio said to the Associated Press.
Although primarily set in the area to catch totoaba, a large fish whose bladder is considered a delicacy in China, these monstrous net walls made of transparent monofilament line, have sadly been snaring and killing vaquitas for years.
Summit County’s Citizen’s Voice
World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which created a petition that garnered signatures from 200,000 of its supporters, were among those urgently requesting these measures in order to halt the vaquita’s extinction. Other organizations such as Sea Shepherd have also formally supported the initiative.
As reported last month by WAN, the discovery of a dead endangered vaquita in the Gulf of Mexico in late April marked the fourth of the world’s smallest porpoise to be found this year. A staggering number since scientists estimated in February that there were only 30 remaining vaquitas still in existence.
According to WWF, yesterday’s agreement was a significant and necessary step toward ensuring a prosperous future for the critically endangered vaquitas, as well as for the people and wildlife of Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California.
WWF supports the implementation and monitoring of the agreement’s measures but urges that there is more that needs to be done. The organization is specifically requesting that any additional plan to save the vaquita includes the following:
Immediate authorization of the use and promotion of existing alternative fishing gear (not allowed under current law/regulations), while new sustainable fishing techniques are being developed
Clearly articulated prohibition on the transport and/or possession of gillnets in and around the Upper Gulf of California
Urgent, coordinated efforts by the Mexican, US, and Chinese governments to end the illegal trade of totoaba swim bladders that is driving rampant use of gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California