Vaquita on the verge of extinction
CIRVA (Comité Internacional para la Recuperación de la Vaquita) met again in April 2017, just 5 months after the committee’s last meeting. The meeting report, which was officially released today at the IWC Scientific Committee meeting in Slovenia, points out that the vaquita is on the verge of extinction. Five dead vaquitas were recovered in March and April 2017. It was confirmed that at least three of these animals had been killed in gillnets (the other two were perinatal animals). CIRVA concluded that despite the enormous efforts by the government of Mexico, illegal fishing activity for totoaba has continued at a very high level. Thus far in the present fishing season, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), as part of a multi-institutional program with the government of Mexico to remove fishing gear, has retrieved over 150 active totoaba gillnets. SSCS also has observed a considerable amount of illegal fishing activity. CIRVA welcomed the Government of Mexico’s “Agreement Prohibiting the Use of Gillnets for Commercial Fishing in Waters of Federal Jurisdiction in the Northern Gulf of California.” However, the Committee reiterated its previous recommendation that the sale or possession of gillnets on land and at sea should be illegal in the area of the current gillnet ban and on adjacent lands.
The full report can be read here