Vaquita (Phocoena sinus) by-catch mortality, caught in gill net for sharks and other fish, Gulf of California, Mexico

Photo By: Flip Nicklin

The Vaquita is going extinct. A mere 30 remain in their only natural habitat, the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico’s government has been trying desperately to prevent the fishing in this area that kills the fish. When large gillnets are used the vaquita ( a small porpoise ) is trapped and suffocated even though they aren’t what is being fished. However, it is hard for the Mexican government to stop the use of gillnets because no alternative exists and they are sympathetic to the fact that preventing the use of gillnets would take away the livelihood of the fisherman.  So, the vaquita continue to die. They will have to be placed in captivity in order to preserve the species. Nothing else can be done while fishing practices remain the same. How can we create a better fishing alternative? Should we care more about the preservation of a species than we do about the jobs of fishermen? What should come first?

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