12/30/2021 at 10:02 am CET
The vaquita marina is a species of cetacean similar to porpoises whose only eight specimens remain in the world, due to the strong impact of trawlers. It measures 150 centimeters and can weigh 60 kilos. It has a very restricted distribution and is considered endemic to Mexico and Baja California.
In 2015, the total population was ninety-seven individuals, but since this year the collapse has been total. Four years ago, 67% of its population was lost, reduced to less than forty individuals. At the end of 2018 and 2019, it was estimated that there remained between ten and fifteen according to the WWF, a figure which this year has fallen further, according to the assessment made after the inspection of the so-called zero tolerance zone in Mexican waters and leaves little room for hope: Only eight vaquitas specimens are estimated to survive, including two calves.
Two sea cows | Apple Inc
Their breeding habits do not help this situation. The species reaches sexual maturity at six years of age and mates between April and June, every two years or more. Fertility is relatively low, as they have seasonal reproductive cycles, with a gestation period of 10 to 11 months, and births between late February and early April, when give birth to a single calf.
Throughout her life, it is estimated that a female can have between 5 and 7 young; is the low reproduction rate is one of the factors taken into account when proposing conservation actions.
Technicians from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) who participated in this year’s census recognize that the results are provisional, as they encountered difficulties due to the covid pandemic and the conditions of the water studied, in addition to the complexity of locating such a small number of animals in open water.
These experts highlight the existence of both offspring, an indicator that adults of childbearing age are still surviving and can maintain the population.
Fishing nets, your main enemy
The first factor in the death of vaquitas in recent years is the presence of nets to capture white croaker, a very popular fish commercially. This fall’s census was based on data from the photo-identification campaign carried out between October 17 and November 3, aboard the Whale and Marine Science Museum ship Narval, as well as the international organization’s Sharpie. Sea Shepherd.
The Mexican government has been implementing a plan since last summer to try to protect these cetaceans. Fishing gear, systems, methods, techniques and schedules are regulated to conduct fishing activities with smaller and larger vessels in Mexican marine areas in the northern Gulf of California.
Marina of Vaquita | changer.org
In addition, landing sites are established, as well as the use of monitoring systems for these vessels. The goal is to keep the federal government’s inspection and surveillance efforts within the zero tolerance zone at all times.
These actions include maritime surveillance patrols 24 hours a day throughout the year, land patrols, the establishment of checkpoints, as well as actions to recover illegal, lost or abandoned gillnets in the area. .
A feature of this species is the exceptional appearance of the lips. The upper part of the body is dark gray, the lower part is almost white or light gray. The fins are proportionately larger than in other porpoises.
This enigmatic species is very shy and does not jump like dolphins on the surface of the sea, but simply emerges for a few seconds to catch its breath.