The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) reported that the federal government will allocate up to $3 million dollars to start the vaquita rescue emergency plan.
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The plan will be managed through the Project Vaquita CPR (Conservation, Protection and Recovery) and consists in transferring some specimens of this species to a temporary sanctuary.
In the sanctuary, vaquita will have the opportunity to reproduce without risk of falling into the gill nets, which operate illegally in the protected area.
The strategy was recommended by the International Committee for the Recovery of Vaquita (Cirva), the world’s smallest porpoise and endemic to the upper Gulf of California.
The Vaquita CRP conservation plan will be carried out alongside joint efforts to eliminate the threat of gillnets and illegal fishing in that area. The decline in the vaquita population is a consequence of the accidental death of porpoises in gill nets.
The Vaquita CPR project will be headed by the Mexican government, through Semarnat, with the support of the National Marine Mammal Foundation, the Marine Mammal Center and the Zoological Society of Chicago.
There will also be a consortium of experts in marine mammals made up of more than 12 conservation organizations around the world.
Experts acknowledged that there is uncertainty in the project because the porpoise is difficult to search, capture, and maintain.
The president of the National Marine Mammal Foundation, Sam Ridgway, said that conservationists and the scientific community recognize the risks, but the duty to act motivates them to join their knowledge to this collective experience.