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Effort To Capture Remaining Vaquita Porpoises Continues

An entangled vaquita porpoise is shown in this undated photo.

Credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Above: An entangled vaquita porpoise is shown in this undated photo.

Effort To Capture Remaining Vaquita Porpoises Continues


Barbara Taylor
, marine biologist, Southwest Fisheries Science Center


Photo caption:

Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

This map of the Gulf of California shows where the endangered vaquita porpoise lives, and where the marine mammal is being killed in illegal gillnets.

An international effort is underway to capture and save the last few remaining vaquita porpoises.

The critically endangered species lives in the waters off the Northern Gulf of California. Its population has dwindled due to gill nets used by poachers who are after another endangered fish, the totoaba.

Scientists estimate just 30 vaquitas are alive today.

The National Marine Mammal Foundation is one of several groups fundraising to get the $3.7 million conservation plan off the ground. The group hopes to raise $1 million by March 15. The plan includes locating, capturing, housing and caring for the vaquitas in a sanctuary sea pen and could take several years.

Meanwhile, San Diego Assemblymember Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, has introduced legislation that would make it illegal to possess or sell seafood from the northern Gulf of California caught using gill nets.

Barbara Taylor, a marine mammal expert with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, will be giving a talk on the state of the vaquita, Wednesday at the American Cetacean Society-San Diego chapter meeting at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at 7:00 pm.

The meeting is open to the public.

Taylor discusses Wednesday on Midday Edition the latest efforts to save the vaquita porpoise from going extinct.

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