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Scientists have confirmed a ‘catastrophic decline’ in vaquita numbers due to bycatch in illegal fishing nets set to capture the endangered totoaba fish.
Only around 60 individuals remain of the world’s smallest and most critically endangered cetacean species, a decline of more than 92 per cent since 1997 when the first census was carried out.
Despite significant conservation efforts by the Mexican Government, including a two-year ban on the gillnets that ensnare vaquita, and major enforcement efforts by the Mexican Navy and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, three dead vaquita were found in March, all killed in illegal gillnets.
The demand for totoaba swim bladders, known as ‘golden coin maw’ due to their high value on the Chinese black market, is the main threat to the survival of the vaquita, yet the enforcement response in the main totoaba markets of Hong Kong and China remains seriously inadequate.
EIA Oceans Campaign Team leader Clare Perry said: “To have any hope of recovery, we need to stop the bycatch of vaquita in gillnets.
“Mexico cannot do this alone – China must significantly ramp up efforts to address the market for totoaba maw and work with Mexico, the US and other countries to clamp down on the illegal international trade in totoaba.”
科学家刚刚确认了海湾鼠海豚种群数量 “灾难性” 下降。下降的原因是对同一海域内的加湾石首鱼的非法捕捞，常常误捕海湾鼠海豚。
EIA海洋项目负责人Clare Perry表示: “海湾鼠海豚生存的唯一可能，取决于我们是否能停止海湾鼠海豚因刺网而死这个现象。”