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MEXICO CITY – Mexican scientists spotted six marine vaquitas in recent days, an endemic species of the Mexican Gulf of California that is on the verge of extinction, scientists reported Wednesday.
” The hope is not over, “said Lorenzo Rojas, researcher of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita Marina (CIRVA).”
During an 11-day Gulf of California expedition in late September and early October, a group of marine mammal expert scientists spotted six vaquitas, “including a baby,” celebrated the director of the Whale Museum, Diego Ruiz.
That figure does not represent a complete count of the population of this porpoise, which is the smallest in the world.
The scientists analyze the data obtained in that expedition and in January they will give a new balance on the population of the vaquita marina.
The last study of CIRVA made in 2017 showed that there were only 30 marine vaquitas, also known as the panda del mar due to the black rings around their eyes.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned even in May that it could die out this year if it continues to die due to bycatch.
The vaquita marina is trapped in the fishing nets of the totoaba fish, which is also about one meter long, whose dissected bladder is highly coveted in China.
Its price ranges between three thousand and 20 thousand dollars in China, where it is attributed rejuvenating properties and is treasured to such a degree that buyers even display it in their homes.
The government expanded its protected area in April, from 1,200 km2 to 1,841 km2, but despite the patrols of the Mexican Armed Navy, totoaba fishermen mock the security forces, especially during the night.
In September, an alleged leader of an organization dedicated to trafficking in totoaba was arrested and subsequently released due to lack of due process.
Source: Tribuna Noticias MX