Environmentalist groups have asked the Mexican government to declare a total and immediate ban on fishing nets in order to avoid the extinction of the vaquita, a rare species of porpoise found only in the northern Gulf of California.
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The International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita, known by the Spanish acronym Cirva, said there are currently fewer than 100 specimens of the cetacean left and warned that, if immediate measures are not taken, this species runs the risk of extinction by the year 2018.
The vaquita is a porpoise whose habitat is limited to a small area of the Gulf of California, where the widespread use of fishing nets threatens the species’ survival.
“The whole world is watching Mexico to see what the Mexican government will do to ward off the predicted extinction of the vaquita,” said Cirva, made up of the Mexican Environmental Law Center, Defenders of Wildlife of Mexico, the Antonio Haghenbeck Y De La Lama Foundation, Serengueti Productions and Teyeliz AC.
Besides the immediate ban, the committee asked that the vaquita’s protected area be expanded and also requested a crackdown on the fishing and illegal trafficking of the totoaba fish, a process in which vaquitas are caught and killed.