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Two vaquitas. The vaquita is a critically endangered porpoise species endemic to the northern part of the Gulf of CaliforniaTwo vaquitas. The vaquita is a critically endangered porpoise species endemic to the northern part of the Gulf of California. It is considered the smallest and most endangered cetacean in the world.
Photo courtesy Wiki Media Commons
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is pleased to announce it has entered into a partnership agreement with the government of Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) to protect the world’s most petite porpoise, the critically endangered vaquita, and other marine species. As part of the partnership, Sea Shepherd will be involved in patrolling of marine fauna, surveillance, and research and scientific monitoring for the purposes of conservation, the organization announced today.

CONANP announced the partnership on their website on Thursday, April 30, immediately following working meetings between veteran Sea Shepherd crew member Oona Layolle, Captain of Sea Shepherd’s research sailing vessel, the R/V Martin Sheen, and representatives of CONANP and PROFEPA. The parties agreed to a strong collaboration in order to patrol the protected Reserve de la Biosphera, a marine reserve in the Gulf of California, from poaching that has brought the vaquitas and other marine species to the brink of extinction.

A press release issued by CONANP stated Sea Shepherd “is an ally in the task of protecting this species and others that exist in the Sea of Cortez and Mexican territorial waters,” and cited Sea Shepherd’s experience working in collaboration with the Government of Ecuador to stop illegal fishing in that region.

Representatives of Sea Shepherd, CONANP, and PROFEPARepresentatives of Sea Shepherd,
CONANP, and PROFEPA
Photo courtesy CONANP
Representative of CONANP, Alejandro del Mazo Maza, held a working meeting with Sea Shepherd representative Captain Layolle, and agreed to work in cooperation to protect the vaquita and other marine species such as the seahorse, the croaker and sea cucumber among others. Others in attendance at the meeting were Joel González Moreno, Director General of Inspection and Monitoring of Marine and Wildlife Resources Coastal Ecosystems of PROFEPA; Mariana Bellot Rojas, Director General of Institutional Development and Promotion and Oscar M. Ramirez Flores, Director of Critical Species Conservation, both of CONANP.

Since Sea Shepherd’s launch of Operation Milagro in March of this year, Captain Layolle and crewmembers aboard the R/V Martin Sheen have maintained a presence within the marine refuge, monitoring and documenting the issues facing the vaquita. Sea Shepherd crew has been concerned to see the extent of illegal fishing and deadly presence of gillnets within these protected waters.

Despite a small volunteer crew, heavy winds in the region, and limited opportunity to come into port, the crew has to date had a very successful campaign, having recently spotted and filmed an elusive vaquita — the first time a vaquita has been spotted since 2013. The vaquita, the smallest cetacean in the world, is native to this region and is known only to occur here. According to reports from CIRVA (Comité Internacional para la Recuperación de la Vaquita), a committee that includes government agencies, marine biologists and NGOs, the vaquita population is declining by a shocking 18.5 percent each year – and if measures are not taken to halt this downward spiral, it is believed that the species could be extinct by the year 2018. Of an estimated 97 remaining vaquitas, only about 25 of the endearing porpoises are believed to be females of reproductive age. In addition, since the vaquita has a slow reproductive rate, giving birth to just one calf every two years, these animals are being wiped out faster than they can possibly reproduce.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto recently unveiled a plan demonstrating the government’s firm commitment to conserving the vaquita – an announcement that has inspired hope for these marine mammals. A two-year moratorium enacted by Mexico on gillnet fishing in the vaquita’s habitat has just taken effect and the country is taking other critical steps to protect the endangered cetacean. The Mexican government’s partnership with Sea Shepherd is further testament to its commitment to saving the vaquita.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Government of Mexico to protect the critically endangered vaquita and other marine animals in these territorial waters,” said Captain Layolle. “Together we will work hard to make miracles happen for these imperiled species.”

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Two vaquitas. The vaquita is a critically endangered porpoise species endemic to the northern part of the Gulf of CaliforniaDos vaquitas. La vaquita es una marsopa en peligro crítico y especie endémica de la parte norte del Golfo de California. Es considerada el cetáceo más pequeño y en mayor peligro del mundo.
Foto cortesía de Wiki Media Commos
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society se complace en anunciar que ha firmado un acuerdo de colaboración con el Gobierno de México, La Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas de México (CONANP) y la Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (PROFEPA) para proteger a la marsopa más pequeña del mundo y en peligro crítico, la vaquita, y otras especies marinas. La organización ha anunciado hoy que como parte de la asociación, Sea Shepherd estará involucrada en el patrullaje de la fauna marina, y la vigilancia, investigación y el seguimiento científico para efectos de conservación.

La CONANP anunció la alianza en su página web el jueves 30 de abril inmediatamente después de las reuniones de trabajo realizadas entre la veterana miembro de la tripulación de Sea Shepherd y Capitán del buque de vela de investigación de Sea Shepherd, el R / V Martin Sheen Oona Layolle, y representantes de la CONANP y la PROFEPA. Las partes acordaron una fuerte colaboración con el fin de patrullar la Reserva de la Biosfera, una reserva marina protegida en el Golfo de California, de la caza furtiva que ha llevado a la vaquita y a otras especies marinas al borde de la extinción.

Un comunicado de prensa emitido por la CONANP declaró que Sea Shepherd "es un aliado en la tarea de protección de éstas especies y otras que existen en el Mar de Cortés y en las aguas territoriales de México ", y citó la experiencia de Sea Shepherd al trabajar en colaboración con el Gobierno de Ecuador para detener la pesca ilegal en esa región.

Representatives of Sea Shepherd, CONANP, and PROFEPARepresentates de Sea Shepherd,
CONANP, y PROFEPA
Foto cortesía de CONANP
El representante de la CONANP, Alejandro del Mazo Maza, sostuvo una reunión de trabajo con la representante de Sea Shepherd, Capitán Layolle, y acordaron trabajar en cooperación para proteger a la vaquita y otras especies marinas: tales como el caballito de mar, la corvina y el pepino de mar, entre otros. Otros asistentes a la reunión fueron Joel González Moreno, Director General de Inspección y Control de la fauna marina y Recursos de Vida Silvestre y Ecosistemas Costeros de PROFEPA; Mariana Bellot Rojas, Directora General de Desarrollo Institucional y Promoción, y Oscar M. Ramírez Flores, Director de Conservación de Especies Críticas, ambos de CONANP.

Desde el lanzamiento de la Operación Milagro de Sea Shepherd en marzo de este año, la Capitán Layolle y la tripulación a bordo del R / V Martin Sheen han mantenido una presencia dentro del refugio marino, haciendo un seguimiento y documentando los problemas que enfrenta la vaquita. La tripulación de Sea Shepherd se encuentra preocupada al ver la magnitud de la pesca ilegal y la presencia mortal de redes de enmalle dentro de estas aguas protegidas.

A pesar de una pequeña tripulación de voluntarios, los fuertes vientos en la región, y la oportunidad limitada para entrar en el puerto, la tripulación ha tenido hasta la fecha una campaña muy exitosa, habiendo visto y filmado recientemente a una escurridiza vaquita — la primera vez que una vaquita ha sido vista desde 2013. La vaquita, el cetáceo más pequeño del mundo, es nativa de esta región y sólo se conoce que se encuentre aquí. Según los informes de CIRVA (Comité Internacional Para La Recuperación de la Vaquita), un comité que incluye a las agencias gubernamentales, biólogos marinos y organizaciones no gubernamentales, la población de la vaquita está disminuyendo en sorprendente 18,5 por ciento cada año - y si no se toman medidas para detener esta espiral descendente, se cree que la especie podría extinguirse para el año 2018. De un estimado de 97 vaquitas restantes, sólo alrededor de 25 de las marsopas entrañables se cree que son las mujeres en edad reproductiva. Además, dado que la vaquita tiene una tasa de reproducción lenta, dando a luz a una sola cría cada dos años, estos animales están siendo eliminados más rápidamente de lo que posiblemente pueden reproducirse.

El Presidente de México, Enrique Peña Nieto dio a conocer recientemente un plan que demuestra el firme compromiso del gobierno para la conservación de la vaquita - un anuncio que ha traído esperanza para estos mamíferos marinos. Una moratoria de dos años en México que sanciona la pesca con redes de enmalle en el hábitat de la vaquita acaba de entrar en efecto y el país está tomando otros pasos críticos para proteger a los cetáceos en peligro de extinción. La colaboración del Gobierno Mexicano con Sea Shepherd es una prueba más de su compromiso para salvar a la vaquita.

"Estamos encantados de asociarnos con el Gobierno de México para proteger a la vaquita marina en peligro de extinción y otros animales marinos en estas aguas territoriales", dijo la Capitán Layolle. "Juntos vamos a trabajar duro para hacer milagros para estas especies en peligro."

Operation Milagro
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