Before curvina fishing starts, the Government and fishing sector must urgently adopt additional measures to differentiate legal and orderly fishing from illegal activities, and to demonstrate that the curvina fishery does not interact with neither vaquita nor totoaba.
Fishing for curvina could start earlier than expected in the Upper Gulf of California, without the necessary management measures in place to demonstrate that this fishery does not affect the critically endangered vaquita. EDF has advocated (2016, 2017) for significantly improving management measures, has advised officials and has offered help with implementation. Allowing any fishing activity in the Upper Gulf without necessary measures in place has serious implications. We urge the Government of Mexico and the fishing communities to adopt them as soon as possible. Read More
This piece was originally published in Spanish on February 5, 2017 in El Universal.
The future of the vaquita – a porpoise endemic to the Upper Gulf of California – and the jobs of thousands of people living in the region are in jeopardy.
In recent weeks numerous reports have made public that rampant illegal poaching of the endangered totoaba fish continues – sought for its valuable swim bladder and sold for thousands of dollars in the Chinese black market.
Experts in fishing and environmental issues concur that totoaba poaching in the region is not only threatening the endangered totoaba, but is also the main source of mortality of the vaquita, which is on the brink of extinction. Environmental Defense Fund is seriously concerned about this situation and the equilibrium of the marine ecosystem in the Upper Gulf. Read More
Photo: Carlos Aguilera
We are deeply concerned about the future of the vaquita marina, a small porpoise endemic to Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California. Long on the brink of extinction, the vaquita is facing an additional threat due to rampant poaching of an endangered fish – the totoaba – whose swim bladder is prized in Asian cuisine, and whose future is also imperiled. The situation is now dire with scientists estimating that fewer than 60 vaquita may now exist, escalating the urgency for action. Not only are the futures of vaquita and totoaba at stake, but also the future of thousands of legal fishermen whose livelihoods are uncertain as the government proposes management changes to address the threats to vaquita.
In July, President Peña Nieto and President Obama called for a permanent ban on gillnets in the Upper Gulf region where vaquita are found, the development of alternative gear to ensure that legal fishing in the Upper Gulf does not interact with vaquita, and bilateral coordination on enforcement to eliminate illegal trafficking of totoaba. The Mexican government has made initial strides, and this week the Mexican Senate Fisheries Committee convened Upper Gulf stakeholders to provide a platform for discussion of the critical issues at hand.
We commend both governments for understanding the urgency and importance of these issues, and for announcing efforts focused on fisheries gear improvements. However, these actions alone are not enough. What’s most important is to end the illegal poaching of totoaba. As long as poaching continues, vaquita continue to risk death as a result of entanglement in totoaba nets and further, the already depleted totoaba population will continue to decline. Read More
Photo credit: Carlos Aguilar
2015 looks to be the year Mexico takes significant action to improve the sustainability of its fisheries.
Mexico is the world’s 16th largest fishing nation and one of the globe’s richest in marine biodiversity. The productive waters of both of Mexico's coastlines teem with a wide array of species that sustain commercially important fisheries. These include hundreds of commercially valuable species of finfish, clams, squid, sardines, and tuna that share the waters of the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean with wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seabirds, and turtles.
This year, Mexico's Federal Fisheries Commission (CONAPESCA) and Federal Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA), are working together with fishing communities and state authorities to implement stronger measures to protect marine biodiversity and ensure sustainable fishing livelihoods. Read More