Mexico Steps Up Efforts to Save the Vaquita Whale

So far this year, inspectors of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA) in Baja California confiscated 111 fishing nets, 22 boats, three outboard engines, and 4.5 tons of illegal fishing supplies.

Surveillance of the Sea of Cortez has increased due to international pressure on the Mexican government to help protect the vaquita whale.

The new strategy brings together three government agencies to oversee surveillance and two new bases of operation in San Felipe and Santa Clara to allow better coverage of the more than 12,000 square kilometers of sea.

Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources added $80 million pesos to the budget for the purchase of eight additional vessels that will be operational in November of this year.

In addition to sea surveillance, Mexico has stepped up aerial surveillance with remote aircraft and images via satellite and drone.

The vaquita is a very small porpoise that lives solely in the Gulf of California, Mexico. The species is critically endangered primarily as a result of entanglement in fishing nets. Strong measures are needed to stop harmful fishing practices in its habitat or the species stands little chance of survival.

Last estimates states 500 or less vaquita are in existence today.

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