The marine biologists and Mexican authorities have joined their efforts to save the vaquita porpoise. The conservation efforts involve capturing fishing nets illegally set by fishers. Starting from October, the authorities have removed over one hundred lost or dumped nets which were floating on the surface.
The conservationists and the local fishers trawled 11,814 kilometers or 7,340 miles in the Gulf of California. According to the experts, it is the only place left where the smallest porpoise in the world lives. Based on the estimates, there are around 60 specimens left in the wild.
As such, the marine biologists predict that the vaquita porpoise will be wiped out by 2022 if nothing is done to facilitate the recovery of its population. The vaquita porpoise is mainly threatened by illegal nets which fishers use to catch totoaba, a fish which is worth a fortune on the Chinese black market due to its swim bladder.
Although the government has taken action to tackle illegal fishing by deploying navy ships last year, the vaquita porpoise’s numbers continue to drop down. Between 2012 and 2014, this species declined from 200 specimens to just 100.
Worse, since 2014, its numbers went down to roughly 60 specimens, based on the statistics. The marine biologists are currently using drones to survey the area.
The high-resolutions cameras can easily detect any illegal activity. It is worth mentioning that this method has been used starting from July. The officials from the environment ministry announced that they had successfully removed 103 illegal nets set for catching sharks, totoaba, and other species.
According to Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, CIRVA chair, the conservationists will develop a capture project in spring. This conservation program is designed to capture as many specimens as possible and to help them reproduce in captivity.
The scientists will introduce the specimens in a protected area, where they will be 100 percent safe from any potential threats. There, a qualified team will conduct a comprehensive breeding program which will facilitate the recovery of the vaquita porpoise.
The marine biologists have never caught a living vaquita porpoise before. This animal is 1.5 meters long or 5 feet. Also, it is called the panda of the sea because it has dark rings around its eyes.
Image Source: Wikipedia