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Mexico Wants to Ban Nets, Save Endangered Porpoise

Mexican authorities are proposing a $37 million plan to ban gillnet fishing in most of the upper Sea of Cortez to save the critically endangered vaquita marina, the world’s smallest porpoise.

The plan would compensate fishermen for stopping the use of nets that often sweep up the tiny porpoises along with their catch.

Recent reports suggest there are fewer than 100 of the shy, elusive porpoises left in the Sea of Cortez, which is also known as the Gulf of California. 

The gulf is the only place on Earth where the marine mammals are found.

The proposal was submitted Tuesday for mandatory public consultation, and could be implemented in a couple of months.

The vaquita is threatened by gillnet fishing for totoaba, a huge, heavy fish whose swim bladder is prized by chefs in China.

There is already a protected reserve area around the mouth of the Colorado River delta, but the new proposal would greatly increase the no net-fishing area southward.

The new area would essentially include almost all of the vaquitas’ known range. The ban would initially be in place for two years.

The plan presented by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department would pay some of the fishermen to work patrolling the area to detect violations of the net ban. 

Agencies

Agencies

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