Operation Milagro has been a highly successful campaign, and all of our goals for this first leg have been realized. Sea Shepherd investigated the plight of the vaquita, built relationships with marine scientists from Mexico and the United States and with other non-governmental organizations, and even established an alliance with the government of Mexico to join forces on a plan to help the imperiled vaquita escape extinction. Sea Shepherd has proven that the vaquita still lives and is worth fighting for by filming one of these elusive porpoises. We brought much-needed global attention to this little known marine mammal who is edging toward extinction, thus far ignored by most of the world.
This campaign has been a powerful adventure in which we have met many inspiring people working tirelessly for the vaquita and for the oceans. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the marine biologists and non-governmental organizations that have been studying and helping the vaquita to survive for these past few years; I admire their work and commitment to the sea. I am proud that Sea Shepherd now has a strong, positive presence in Mexico where we have joined the fight against extinction for this petite porpoise, and I am very proud to be at the helm of the R/V Martin Sheen and of this project.
I would also like to thank Sea Shepherd Mexico Director Hector Torres for all his help throughout this campaign and for his great energy and enthusiasm for our mission to defend the world’s oceans. It has been a pleasure to work with our colleagues at Sea Shepherd Mexico.
But the vaquita remains the most endangered marine mammal on the planet, and we will not stand by while this precious being disappears. Sea Shepherd will return to the Sea of Cortez at the beginning of the next fishing season. We will come back stronger and even more prepared to do what is necessary to avoid losing another living species as a result of irresponsible human actions.
Sea Shepherd has proven our expertise in the monitoring of marine protected areas and the halting of illegal fishing operations around the world through our many campaigns spanning nearly 40 years. It will be our pleasure and honor to protect the beautiful Sea of Cortez and her miraculous vaquita.