Target: Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico
Goal: Outlaw the use of fishing nets in porpoise habitats and devise a plan to help the population recover.
The world’s smallest porpoise — the vaquita marina — may soon be extinct as a result of gillnets allegedly being illegally used by fishermen. We need to take action to ensure these beautiful animals are saved.
Although Mexico banned using gillnets over a year ago, scientists estimate there are only around 60 of these animals left in the wild. Authorities surmise the porpoises have declined in number because they become trapped in the gillnets when poachers try to catch the totoaba fish. The totoaba is highly sought after for its swim bladder, which is often used for medicinal purposes. The problem is so bad that 600 illegal gillnets were said to be recently taken from fishermen by Mexican authorities.
Urge officials to prosecute anyone found guilty of using these fishing nets and to ban fishing where these porpoises are found. Officials must also devise a plan with the coastal community to make sure these animals don’t become extinct. If we don’t do something now, these porpoises will likely soon no longer exist.
Dear President Nieto,
As you may be aware, the vaquita marina is thought to be severely endangered as a result of the use of illegal gillnets. It is important that everything possible be done to stop this illicit fishing in order to ensure that these porpoises can be saved.
While it is good news that using gillnets was outlawed over a year ago, it is horrible that these animals may still become extinct because of people who allegedly refuse to follow the law. Experts surmise that these porpoises become trapped in gillnets that poachers set for the totoaba, a fish targeted for use in traditional medicine. In fact, Mexican authorities allegedly recently detained over seventy people and seized over 600 gillnets from various fishermen.
For these reasons, I urge you to suggest that anyone found guilty of having used these nets be prosecuted. Furthermore, I request a ban on all fishing in any areas where these porpoises may be found and that you further work with fishermen and other members of the coastal community to come up with a viable plan to help both fishermen and porpoises to thrive. Doing nothing will only ensure that another mystical and wondrous creature will soon be extinct.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Semarnat