Last chance for calves of the seas

by   Profile Herbert   When 17th February 2017
Two Vaquitas in the Gulf of California (c) NOAA
Vaquitas have a black ring around their eyes. (c) NOAA
Vaquita (c) NOAA
The totoaba fishery can bring in a lot of money - unlawful. (c) NOAA
Totoaba swim bladders are smuggled to China. hey are a delicacy in China and buyers may pay up to US$1,000 per piece. (c) NOAA

World's smallest porpoise faces extinction threat

Based on the current numbers, the population of vaquitas (the world's
smallest porpoises) fell by 50 percent to 30 adult individuals in just
a year.

Found exclusively in the Gulf of California, their only threat
comes from fishing nets, which fishermen illegally cast to capture the
totoaba fish.

The WWF has issued a statement stating that the world is
likely to lose yet another one of its charismatic animals.

“For the vaquita, the clock is now
just a few seconds before twelve. To prevent its extinction, we need an
immediate, complete and time-unlimited fishing ban in its final
safehouse,” said Stephan Lutter in German.

As the WWF Germany's
marine ecologist, Lutter said that the decision of the Mexican and US
authorities on the issue of illegal fishing for the totoaba fish using
gill nets is crucial for the success of such an objective.

totoabas can bring in a lot of money - unlawful. Their swim bladders
are smuggled to China via the US. They are a delicacy in China and
buyers may pay up to US$1,000 per piece. In the meantime, the vaquitas
fall on the wayside” Lutter warned.

Vaquitas Marinas – “Calves of the Seas” in German – are named for their
black and white colouration. Its back is dark gray while the sides of
its body are of a lighter colour. The waist is white. They have a black
ring around their eyes. Their mouth is also dark in colour. They grow
up to 1.5 metres in length and weigh 55 kilogram’s. Compared to the
porpoises in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, the vaquitas are smaller.

This latest population count was done using scientific methods during
the summer of 2016, and published several days later after a
comprehensive data analysis.

Since the end of 2016, WWF Germany has
been involved in emergency measures in a bid to protect the last
remaining vaquitas.

The new numbers were collected using scientific methods in the summer
of 2016 and published after a comprehensive data analysis a few days

Since the end of last year, WWF Germany has been involved in
urgent and immediate measures to protect the last vaquitas.

Also see here.

Written by
Profile Herbert
When 17th February 2017
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