On April 8th 2017, the M/Y Sam Simon pulled up its 100th illegal gill net from the Gulf of California, which was promptly followed by illegal gill net number 101 and number 102.
That same day, the M/V Farley Mowat pulled up 2 nets, which brought the total of illegal fishing devices retrieved from the Upper Gulf of California since last December to 200.
It is both a great result achieved by the two Sea Shepherd vessels and their crews, but at the same time, very disturbing, as this proves that there are still many nets laying under the surface. These nets kill wild animals, amongst them the endangered totoaba and the near-extinct vaquita, who suffocate when they get entangled in them.
Judge issues restraining orders to further protect the group’s ships and crews
Thanks to a swift response by the Mexican government, a potentially dangerous confrontation by hostile fisherman towards Sea Shepherd was averted on Thursday March 30.
A temporary restraining order issued against the fisherman on March 28 by the Attorney General’s office was ratified by a judge on April 5th.
Protesting fishermen, led by one of San Felipe’s fishing cooperative leaders, held a demonstration on March 26th where they threatened to burn Sea Shepherd ships if they were still in the Gulf by Thursday, March 30th at 14:00 hours.
Sea Shepherd is currently in the Gulf, also known as the Sea of Cortez, for Operation Milagro III to protect the near extinct vaquita porpoise and the endangered totoaba bass. The campaign is in partnership with the government of Mexico.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recently published a draft resolution titled, Abusive use of the Interpol System: the need for more stringent legal safeguards.
It cites the Red Notice issued on Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Founder, Captain Paul Watson by Interpol at the request of Costa Rica among the examples of a broken Red Notice system that has been “abused by some member States in the pursuit of political objectives, repressing the freedom of expression or persecuting members of the political opposition beyond their borders.”
The report states the purpose for the International Notice System is to enable police to alert law enforcement in other countries of potential threats, or to ask for assistance in solving crimes.
Death bring world’s smallest porpoise closer to extinction
San Felipe, Baja California, MEXICO – March 21, 2017 – Sea Shepherd found the body of a dead vaquita porpoise floating in the Gulf of California on Sunday March 19, 2017.
The non-profit marine conservation society has been in the upper Gulf since last fall as part of Operation Milagro III to save the vaquita and the endangered totoaba bass. Sea Shepherd’s anti-poaching ships, the M/V Farley Mowat and M/Y Sam Simon are currently patrolling the area.
At 2:47pm on Sunday, the Farley Mowat crew came across the dead vaquita – known as the world’s smallest porpoise – and notified the Mexican authorities to retrieve it. The carcass is currently being held in San Felipe, frozen, awaiting an examination to determine its cause of death.
With the near-extinct vaquita porpoise now numbering less than 30, the devastating sight comes exactly one week after Sea Shepherd found a dead newborn vaquita on the beach just 33 km south of San Felipe.