Sea Shepherd confident of vaquita porpoise recovery in Mexico

New ship Seahorse debuted in operation to save near-extinct vaquita porpoise
A mother and calf vaquita, Mexico, credit: Paula Olson/NOAA Fisheries/via Reuters

The conservation group Sea Sheperd expressed optimism on Wednesday about the vaquita porpoise’s recovery after it reached a new agreement with the Mexican government to boost the endangered animal’s protection.

Sea Shepherd and the Mexican navy have been working together to protect the animals in the Sea of Cortes for many years. The critically endangered vaquita porpoise has been severely threatened by illegal gill net fishing for the fish totoaba. Vaquita porpoises often become entangled in the nets.

The totoaba is also an endangered species whose bladder is highly valued in Asia.

Mexican authorities and Sea Shepherd will expand their efforts along the Mexican Pacific coast by extending their protection protocols to the totoaba and expanding the protected zone by more than 60% within the so-called zero-tolerance area where fishing is forbidden.

Sea Shepherd’s latest surveillance mission spotted around a dozen healthy-looking vaquitas, including calves. “There’s going to be some very interesting results over the next few years. We will continue to protect the vaquita in its sanctuary area of the zero tolerance area and around it.”Pritam Sing, vice president at Sea Shepherd, said.

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