Save Severely Endangered Porpoise

Vaquita-Porpoise-by-AMNH-Seminars-on-Science

Target: Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico

Goal: Take more measures to better help ensure the vaquita porpoise does not become extinct.

The vaquita porpoise is greatly endangered as a result of obstructive fishing practices being used. Mexico is taking steps to try and save the rare and small species of porpoise by encouraging people to practice aquaculture or fish farming rather than catching wild fish and by offering fishermen incentives for using safer fishing methods. However, other steps need to be taken.

For example, gillnets that vaquita porpoises become entangled and trapped in need to be made illegal and replaced with vaquita-safe fishing gear. In addition, fishermen should be required to take a class that teaches them how to use the new fishing gear before they are allowed to continue with their fishing endeavors. Some of the money made from conservation efforts should further be set aside for this purpose.

Stricter penalties also need to be set in place to more severely punish fishermen who fish for totoabas, a main food source of the porpoise and also a fish that is endangered and is therefore illegal to catch. Like other fish, gillnets are used to catch totoabas, better ensuring vaquita porpoises will become entangled in these nets and drown. Lastly, it is important that Pacific Ocean waters where vaquita porpoises live be patrolled by air and boat whenever possible to look for people who may be practicing illegal fishing methods.

Sign this petition and demand these steps be taken to help save this unique animal. While efforts are being made, many more things need to be done if the vaquita porpoise is to have a chance of being taken off of the endangered species list.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Nieto,

Faulty fishing practices are a big reason why the vaquita porpoise is greatly endangered. These porpoises will soon be extinct if more measures are not taken to try and save them.

Besides practicing aquaculture and offering incentives to fishermen that use less destructive fishing methods, more authoritative measures need to be taken to help repopulate this species. Such things include outlawing the use of gillnets and replacing old nets with vaquita-safe fishing gear, requiring fishermen to take a free class on how to use the new fishing gear that would be paid for through conservation funding, regularly patrolling parts of the Pacific Ocean by means of air and boat in order to catch anyone illegally using gillnets to catch shrimp and fish such as the totoaba—an important food source of the vaquita—and by implementing stricter penalties for people who are caught breaking any new conservation laws pertaining to this issue.

For all of these reasons, I encourage you to support and to propose legislation that would set such measures in place. While it is commendable that current efforts are being taken, much more needs to be done if this beautiful animal is going to be saved.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: AMNH Seminars on Science

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