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Mexico Enacts Permanent Ban on Gillnets in Habitat of Endangered Porpoise

LADB Article ID: 80355
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2017-07-19
By: Carlos Navarro

Mexican authorities announced a complete ban on the use of gillnets in the waters of the upper Gulf of California as part of an effort to protect an endangered porpoise known as the vaquita marina. Scientists believe there are only 30 specimens of the vaquita left in the gulf, which is also known as the Sea of Cortez. That total is down considerably from 2008, when Mexico launched its first effort to defend the endangered porpoise. At that time, scientists believed there were no more than 150 vaquitas in the area. “Mexico has invested more than 200 million pesos (US$11.4 million) since 2007 to preserve the vaquita marina,” columnist Julio Pilotzi wrote in the online news site 24Horas two weeks after Mexico announced the permanent ban on gillnets. On July 1, the Peña Nieto administration announced that use of gillnets would no longer be allowed in the habitat of the vaquita marina. “We have implemented a historic effort to avoid the extinction of a unique species, the vaquita marina, and to protect our ecosystem,” Peña Nieto said. The Mexican government’s decision to make the ban permanent drew international praise. “This is a fantastic and encouraging step forward in the path to saving the vaquita, provided the ban is fully enforced and accompanied by fishing alternatives for local communities," the World Wildlife Fund said in a statement.

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