66 F
Mérida
Thursday, January 20, 2022
###

On verge of extinction, vaquita population estimated at under 10

After one is found dead, more pessimism about saving the species

Latest headlines

New benches at ancient archaeological site anger Izamal residents

Modern slab benches detract from an ancient ruin at Izamal, neighbors say. Photo: Courtesy Modern-looking benches installed at...

Being a good neighbor to Yucatán’s roof cats and street dogs

Illustration: Juan Pablo Quintal García Cats replaced people as my friends soon after quarantine 2020 began. 

What my rescue dogs taught me

I thought I knew a lot about dogs until I took in two rescues. I was wrong....

Bus full of construction workers catches fire in Mérida’s north

A bus went up in flames just before 8 this morning in Mérida’s Francisco de Montejo neighborhood.
Yucatán Magazine
Sign up to get our top headlines delivered to your inbox twice a week.
[metaslider id=45147 cssclass=””]

A week after environmentalists estimated just 22 vaquita porpoises were left in the Sea or Cortez, that number has been revised.

The environmentalist group Sea Shepherd, after finding the body of a vaquita caught in an illegal fishing net, now say perhaps only nine remain in the world.

The tiny endangered sea mammal is found only in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, off the Baja Peninsula.

The group said the remains were too badly decomposed for immediate identification and had been turned over to authorities for further study.

Sea Shephard patrols the Gulf of California, as the body of water is also known, removing illegal fishing nets set for totoaba, a fish whose swim bladder is considered a delicacy in China.

The vaquitas are concentrated in an increasingly small area of about 15 by seven miles, a report said.

“The few remaining vaquitas inhabit a very small area, approximately 24 by 12 kilometers, most of which lies within the Vaquita Refuge. However, high levels of illegal fishing for totoaba occur in this area,” the report said.

Defending the vaquitas in the small area should not be “an impossible task, as the area to be protected is not large,” the report added.

But Sea Shepherd’s vessels have come under increasing harassment and attacks in the gulf in recent months, and the totoaba season — in which the big fish gather to breed — will reach its peak between now and May.

The boldness of illegal fishermen, the small number of remaining vaquita and the inability of the Mexican Navy and authorities to stop poaching has raised alarms among environmentalists.

“Reports from the region suggest that the illegal fishery is growing, and there have been several recent episodes of violence by illegal fishermen directed at net removal vessels and their crews, legal fishermen, and even the Mexican Navy,” an international commission’s report said. “These events illustrate the continued failure of enforcement efforts and the lack of respect for Mexican law by illegal fishermen.”

In a last-stand bid to save the vaquita, the commission urged the Mexican government to provide 24-hour surveillance and patrols of the small remaining habitat area, and “take all necessary measures to protect net removal teams.”

“There is only the tiniest sliver of hope remaining for the vaquita,” said Kate O’Connell, a marine wildlife consultant with the Animal Welfare Institute. “Mexico must act decisively to ensure that all gillnet fishing is brought to an end throughout the upper gulf.”

Source: The Associated Press

- Advertisement -

Subscribe Now!

More articles

600 acres expropriated in Quintana Roo for new Mayan Train route

Mexico has seized 198 lots of land in Quintana Roo along phase 5 of the Mayan Train's path.

Omicron strain now dominant in Yucatán

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 now appears to be the most common form of the virus in Yucatán.

Exploring Tazumal and Casa Blanca in Western El Salvador

Though part of the Mayan world, archaeological sites in El Salvador have largely remained unvisited by all but the most avid adventurers. But this tiny country boasts several interesting sites full of unique features and blends of cultural traditions. 

Mérida slated to build nearly 100 new highrise towers

Housing and business developments in Mérida have historically been fairly “close to the ground,” but that seems to be changing.

Yucatán’s COVID hospitalizations begin to creep up

Over 3,000 new coronavirus infections were reported this week in Yucatán. On Sunday alone, 652 new cases were detected, and that's likely...

‘Angels’ spreads its wings to the Yucatán Country Club gallery

The "Angels" exhibit has expanded into the exclusive Yucatán Country Club gallery, on view by appointment. Photo: Courtesy

Yucatán wakes up to a cold and windy ‘Mukul’

Mark Callum, a Mérida resident originally from England, helped this Chevy's owner move a huge branch behind the Paseo de Montejo...

Mérida Fest to go forward despite COVID-19 surge

The Ayuntamiento has confirmed that in-person events scheduled for Mérida Fest 2022 will continue as planned.

Building in Yucatán to get even more expensive in 2022

Over the past several years, construction costs in Yucatán have risen sharply and all signs point to even higher prices in 2022..

Yucatán’s top 8 street junk food favorites

Walking through virtually any city or town in Yucatán a wide range of food vendors can be seen peddling goodies out of push carts, mobile stands, food trucks, and just about every other configuration you can think of.