Target: Enrique Pena Nieto, Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources
Goal: Ban gillnets and increase enforcement in the Gulf of California in order to save the Vaquita porpoise.
Only 30 Vaquita porpoises remain in the wild, according to a new report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita. The animal, which can only be found in the northern portion of the Gulf of California, is the smallest and most endangered porpoise in the world. Its population has been decimated by illegal gillnet fishing.
Since 2011, the population has declined by 90 percent. This coincides with an increase in demand for the swim bladder of the totaba fish, which is also native to that area. The swim bladder is illegally exported to Asian countries, where it is put into soup and believed to have medicinal properties.
Between 2015 and 2016, the population of Vaquita porpoises was cut in half. Experts are blaming the rampant use of gillnets, which can entrap and drown the animals. They say that without a permanent ban on this indiscriminate fishing method as well as improved enforcement, the porpoise will soon be extinct.
Unfortunately, Mexico does not seem to be taking this situation seriously. Officials have green-lighted plans for a controversial curvina fishery in the area despite overwhelming evidence that totaba poachers use such fisheries as cover-ups for illicit operations.
We must save this creature before it’s too late. Without them, the entire ecosystem of the Gulf of California will suffer greatly. Sign the petition below to demand permanent bans on fishing in the area as well as increased enforcement and oversight.
Dear Mr. Nieto,
There remain only 30 Vaquita porpoises in the entire world, according to an alarming new report. The population has declined by 90 percent in the past six years, with the population being cut in half between 2015 and 2016 alone.
Experts blame illegal fishing as well as the rampant use of gillnets for the decline. Despite this, plans to build a controversial curvina fishery in the area have been green-lighted. These fisheries are often used as fronts for illegal operations.
If we are to save the Vaquita porpoise from extinction, we must act immediately. Fishing in its habitat must be stopped immediately in order to preserve the ecosystem and stamp out any chance of accidental catches. We, the undersigned, demand that you ban all fishing in the northern Gulf of California and increase oversight and enforcement of fishing bans.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: AMNH Seminars on Science