Vaquitas Could Soon Be Extinct. Mexico Will Largely Determine Their Fate. – The New York Times

Catrin Einhorn and 

Ms. Einhorn is the Times’s biodiversity reporter. Mr. Ramos, a freelance photojournalist, reported from San Felipe, Mexico.

“As scientists planned an expedition in Mexico this fall to count one of the world’s most endangered animals, a shy porpoise called a vaquita, they dreaded the possibility that there would be none left to find. The last survey, in 2019, estimated that only about 10 remained.

At the same time, fishermen in the area were preparing to set out with the illegal nets that scientists say are driving the porpoises to extinction: walls of mesh that hang upright below the surface, up to 20 feet deep and stretching the length of several football fields.

Called gill nets, they trap shrimp and fish. They also entangle vaquitas, drowning the mammals. Researchers say the nets are the only known cause for the species’ catastrophic decline, but getting rid of them has turned out to be a challenge.

Amid a global biodiversity crisis, with an estimated million species threatened with extinction, the story of the vaquita shows how even obvious solutions — in this case, putting a stop to illegal fishing — require political will, enforcement and deep engagement with local communities to meet the needs of both people and animals.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Thank you Catrin Einhorn and the NYT, even though you have disturbed my “wa,” or peacefully harmony. I was not aware of this tragedy, about losing the magnificent vaquitas, and I would like the United States to step up and do what ever it takes, to protect them. I’m not sure what is the best way to convince the Mexican government to protect this dying species, but a ban in the US of all Mexican sea food would probably get their immediate attention. I hope to read more, soon, about what pressures could realistically be brought to bear in this situation, which is so immediately dire.
Perhaps the Mexican and US government will have to start paying these same illegal fishermen, stipends or salaries, to protect the rare porpoises that they are driving quickly to extinction.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.