Mexican government commits to protect endangered vaquitas

The Mexican government signed an agreement last week to protect the world’s rarest marine mammal.

©Tomás Fano/Flickr

There has been a major depletion in the population of vaquitas with about 30 left in the world, which can now be found only in the Gulf of California. Since 2011, 90 per cent of the vaquita’s population has been lost.

According to WWF, the agreement between Mexican government, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and the Carlos Slim Foundation includes a permanent ban on gillnets, which trap and drown the vaquita porpoises. As per the deal, new fishing gear and techniques will be developed to allow the local communities to continue fishing.

Jorge Rikards, acting director of WWF-Mexico tells National Geographic, “This is not a problem only unique to Mexico; this is a problem that we find in many places, and not only marine ecosystems.”

He further explains, “If we lose vaquitas, it would mean failure of so many years of work, and it would force us to rethink many of the approaches that government and civil society and local communities have taken to address these issues and others like them around the world.”

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