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. “The 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 ago. Since the end of last year, WWF Germany has been involved in urgent and immediate measures to protect the last vaquitas.
See also: taucher.net/diveinside-high_demand_for_totoaba_threatens_the_vaquita