What is a vaquita you ask? A vaquita is a porpoise, which is a dolphin like creature with a short nose. It is the smallest porpoise. There are less than 60 of them left because of illegal fishing of totoaba, a popular fish, in the Upper Gulf of California. Their population has dropped by 40% since the early seventies, which isn’t that long of a year span. It is predicted by WWF that they will be extinct in 2018. There are multiple causes of the near extinction of the vaquita.
How are people helping the vaquita? For example the president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, and Barack Obama made an agreement in July 2016 to help save the vaquita. In this agreement Obama and Pena Nieto have hired a group of specialist to make vaquita-safe fishing technologies, and a protocol to catch shrimp that is safe for the vaquita will be coming out soon. Also, the Mexican Government has enforced laws that makes it illegal to fish for the totoaba in the Gulf of California.
What is the major cause of vaquita death? The major cause of vaquita death is illegal fishing for totoaba, which is a fish that is also endangered. Because totoaba only live in the Gulf of California (just like the vaquita), it puts the vaquita at risk as well. Fishermen trying to catch totoaba leave invisible fishing nets in the water, called ghost nets. Hoping that the next time they come back they will have some fish in their nets. The vaquita swim into these nets and drown. So why don’t we just enclose them? This is a logical question, because enclosing animals has saved many species. For the vaquita, however, scientists think it’s best to leave them in their habitat. As a result, many people are trying to remove the nets to get one step closer to save the vaquita.
The vaquita is a porpoise, which is a dolphin like creature with a short nose. It is endangered because people are illegally fishing in the area which they live. Scientist, volunteers and even Presidents are doing their part to save them. Now that you know about the vaquita, will you try to save them?