Safety Net

Safety Net

There are only 245 vaquita left in the wild. To save the rare porpoises, the Mexican government has launched an innovative project that pays fishermen to hang up their nets.

By Catherine Elton/Photography by Corey Arnold
Published: November-December 2011

And Campoy, who passed away earlier this year, believed that the fishermen of Santa Clara, San Felipe, and Puerto Penasco have already reaped benefits from the program. "The Mexican government has invested close to $30 million in this program. We have made an exceptional exception for these fishermen," he said. "They have been pampered." That reality hasn't been lost on fishermen who live outside the three communities taking part in the vaquita program. According to a member of Campoy's team, one of those fishermen recently joked that he'd like it if they could bring a few vaquitas down to his waters.

That's the way Ocegueda sees the vaquita, as something of a blessing. "I could have retired with nothing, but instead I left and got money," says Ocegueda, sitting one evening on the front porch of his Internet cafe, whose front door features a poster of the vaquita. "The vaquita is saving us and we are saving the vaquita," he says. Moments later, as the sky grew dark, a pickup truck roared up the sand street, towing a fishing boat back from the beach for the night. Ocegueda waved and watched as it passed. But he was soon distracted by the voices of neighborhood kids asking to use the Internet. He jumped up to open the door and let them in.

Magazine Category

Author Profile

Comments

The rights, well being, life

The rights, well being, life and liberty of an individual outweighs the importance of the entire vaquita population. The interests of the local fishermen in El Golfo must be the principle priority. Until human interest are considered first, the position of those trying to save the vaquita will be diminished and their goals unachievable.

Mexican goverment and it

Mexican goverment and it President are really inepts, corrupts and lyings. Realy, we need to work in solitary. The vaquita need our help NOW.

The mexican goverment by its

The mexican goverment by its situacion well know, is unable to save the vaquita. I suggest about some specimenes are captured alive and try their reproduction in captivity in U.S. For its small siza it seems not too difficult. I suggest to promote, in addition, a total ban of U.S. authorities totoaba the sale of its territory especially in California and Arizona. Finally it should be banned altogheter, for an indefinity period by bilateral agreement, the export of totoaba fishing by Mexican or American companies. From this, scientists and technicians of both countries may settle more quietly, thoroughty and forever, this headache anxiety greatly to the abiding nature of the world.

The mexican goverment by its

The mexican goverment by its situacion well know, is unable to save the vaquita. I suggest about some specimenes are captured alive and try their reproduction in captivity in U.S. For its small siza it seems not too difficult. I suggest to promote, in addition, a total ban of U.S. authorities totoaba the sale of its territory especially in California and Arizona. Finally it should be banned altogheter, for an indefinity period by bilateral agreement, the export of totoaba fishing by Mexican or American companies. From this, scientists and technicians of both countries may settle more quietly, thoroughty and forever, this headache anxiety greatly to the abiding nature of the world.

Still an unlikely wager

I kayak in the golfo de santa clara/Boca de Colorado region, and many fishermen there believe that the vaquita, in their own words "es una mentira"..."is a lie". They do not believe the animal exists. And, contrary to the optimistic statements in this article, these guys are indeed still using gill nets out by Isla Montague. A number of the fishermen who were "bought out" up in Golfo de Santa Clara were rumoured to have gone and bought new boats and motors with their buyout checks. A dozen truckloads of fish leave Puerto Penasco every day, headed north to be processed. One must understand that Mexico does not work the way we wish it did. If this animal is to be saved, there must be well enforced criminal penalties for fishing in the entire home range region of this little dolphin. Anything less will be ignored by the locals.

unprecedented efforts

WoW! What a great effort being offered by the Mexican President and made by the Fisherman. It's so nice to see that a governmental agency is making and unprecedented effort to save the lives of an endangered cetacean! If only Japan and the Taiji Fisherman could follow in the same footsteps!

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.