Target: President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto
Goal: Ban fishing in the Gulf of California to save the vaquita porpoise from extinction
Thanks to the efforts of illegal fishermen and gill nets, the vaquita porpoise is extremely threatened, and is on the brink of extinction. These lovely animals can only be saved by drastic actions, as under a hundred of these cetaceans thrive in the Gulf of California. Scientists are claiming that the only way to save them is to implement a ban on fishing in the area, and ensure that the ban is enforced. The Mexican government is hesitant to do so, as it will anger the local fishermen, but crucial action is needed to save these porpoises.
The vaquita porpoise is known for its petty and unusual face. According to a scientist working on saving the species, the vaquita porpoise’s characteristics make it seem like the animal is “wearing lipstick and mascara.” As with many cetacean, their faces make it seem like the animals look friendly or happy. But these shy and timid creatures, which have been only known to scientists since 1958, are being caught from both illegal fishermen from China, or as bycatch, pulled in dead alongside other fish by gill nets. Scientists estimate that there are at least 97 vaquita porpoises left in the Gulf of California, and while a fertile group of females could bring the population back from extinction, fishing needs to end for the population to thrive again.
One cetacean species, the baiji, otherwise known as the Chines river dolphin, is extinct due to human activity, and scientists are estimating that the vaquita will disappear by 2018 if drastic action isn’t taken. That is why scientists are pushing the Mexican government to ban fishing in the Gulf of California, but the country is hesitant to back such action. It will undoubtedly anger the local fishermen, and enforcement will be needed, but the Mexican government has no choice. Already there is talk of banning fishing globally so the marine wildlife can return to normal. Urge the Mexican government to ban fishing in the Gulf of California so the vaquita porpoise can make a come back.
Dear President Enrique Pena Nieto,
Scientists estimate that there are less than a hundred vaquita porpoises in the waters of the Gulf of California. This is a staggering and depressing number, and should come as no surprise that these animals are on the brink of extinction. These porpoises are endangered because of illegal Chinese fishermen, and because they are pulled up as bycatch by fishing nets. These animals are valuable to the ecosystem and if they are gone from the gulf, immediate changes will take place in the ocean’s environment and its marine wildlife.
I am writing this letter urging you to ban fishing in the Gulf of California. This ban needs to be enforced, and those that are caught fishing should be severely punished for their actions. I do not want to see the vaquita porpoise added to the list of extinct animals, especially when humans could save the species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fjord&Baelt via Wikimedia Commons