Mexican Embassy; Thursday, July 7; 8:00-10:00 AM
The vaquita is the world's smallest and most endangered porpoise, found only in Mexico's northern Gulf of California. Fewer than 60 individuals are believed to remain. AWI is organizing a rally outside the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC, to bring attention to their plight as part of the International Save the Vaquita Day 2016.
Please join us as we thank the Mexican government for its efforts to date to save the vaquita, and urge Mexico to do more by imposing a permanent ban on fishing nets in vaquita habitat and stepping up enforcement.
Where: Mexican Embassy, 1911 Pennsylvania Ave NW
When: 8:00-10:00 AM, Thursday, July 7
Directions: Click here for the Google Map
Nearest Metro: Farragut West (blue, orange, silver lines)
What to wear: all participants will receive a free ¡Extinction is Forever/La Extinción es para siempre! T-shirt (while supplies last)
What to bring: water, sunscreen, enthusiasm!
Please be sure to share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends, and co-workers, and encourage them to come out and voice their support for this gentle porpoise. As always, thank you very much for your help!
Fishing gear is the biggest threat to vaquitas. They often drown after becoming entangled in shrimp nets or in illegal gillnets set for totoaba, an endangered fish that is also found only in the Gulf of California. The totoaba's swim bladder is illegally exported to Asia to make soup and for unproven traditional medicine treatments. Demand for totoaba bladders is high, with a single bladder fetching up to US$14,000.
After years of international pressure, particularly from the scientific community, Mexico announced a two-year ban on most gillnets in the northern Gulf of California in April 2015, and promised to increase enforcement action against the growing illegal totoaba fishery. While Mexico's actions are commendable, experts assert that a permanent ban on nets in the Gulf and rigorous enforcement of that ban are necessary to save the vaquita.
At the urging of AWI and the Center for Biological Diversity, the World Heritage Commission is due in July to review the Gulf of California World Heritage site—designated as such largely to protect the vaquita and the totoaba.
A new population survey for vaquita by US and Mexican scientists took place last fall and found that numbers have plummeted, from around 80 to only 60 individuals. Time is running out for the vaquita—extinction is forever!