In response to the agreement signed today by the Government of Mexico, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and the Carlos Slim Foundation to support emergency measures to conserve the critically endangered vaquita porpoise and the Upper Gulf of California ecosystem, WWF issued the following statement:
Today’s agreement marks a key step forward in the fight to save the critically endangered vaquita and ensure a sustainable future for the people and wildlife of Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California. Importantly, the agreement includes a permanent ban on gillnets by Mexico and the retrieval of all abandoned or lost “ghost” nets within vaquita habitat, as well as the development of new fishing gear and techniques to allow local communities to resume legal, sustainable fishing activities – measures urgently requested that WWF considers imperative to preventing the vaquita’s extinction.
WWF looks forward to supporting the implementation and monitoring of these efforts alongside our partners. At the same time, WWF continues to urge the development of a comprehensive vaquita recovery plan, including the following additional measures vital to any effort to save the species:
Immediate authorization of the use and promotion of existing alternative fishing gear (not allowed under current law/regulations), while new sustainable fishing techniques are being developed
Clearly articulated prohibition on the transport and/or possession of gillnets in and around the Upper Gulf of California
Urgent, coordinated efforts by the Mexican, US, and Chinese governments to end the illegal trafficking of totoaba swim bladders that is driving rampant use of gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California
Further, WWF believes that any effort to capture and provide sanctuary for the remaining vaquita and breed them in captivity must be explicitly linked to a plan to return vaquita to the wild once their habitat is secure. WWF and 200,000 people who have joined our campaign in the last month to urge action remain committed to ensuring the Upper Gulf of California remains forever safe and healthy for wildlife and local communities alike.
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Notes to Editors:
For more information, please contact:
Scott Edwards | WWF | firstname.lastname@example.org | +44 7887 954116
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media