#ISTVD2015 International Save the Vaquita Day raises awareness for smallest porpoise

An effort to raise awareness

With events happening today in the United States, Mexico, China and Austria, the International Save the Vaquita Day aims to raise awareness for one of the world’s most critically endangered marine mammals, the Vaquita (Phocoena sinus).

Vaquita in the Gulf of California
A vaquita in the Sea of Cortez. Photo by Paula Olson (NOAA).

The small porpoise is endemic to the Gulf of California, and recent estimates point to a rapid decline in abundance, with fewer than 100 individuals left in the wild. A recently published report based on acoustic monitoring data saw a 42% decline from 2013 to 2014.

Gillnet fishing is a major conservation concern for many small cetaceans around the world and believed to be the main cause for the vaquita’s dramatic decline. Experts believe that only immediate action and strict enforcement of existing rules can save the species.

A word from biologist and Porpoise Conservation Society president Dr. Anna Hall:

Today is the International Save the Vaquita Day and I hope that the world rallies to help Mexico in their efforts to stave off the extinction of one of the world’s most incredible mammals. Time is of the essence and there is not a moment to lose, in the race to protect the last remaining vaquita from preventable deaths. The fishing nets and black market trade must not overpower the incredible efforts to date to raise awareness, protect the porpoise, and provide a safety for life for the remaining few animals that hopefully will become the foundation for a recovered population. The International Save the Vaquita Day is more than a day to realise the importance of this issue, it is a call to action. Please help save the vaquita and support Mexico in their incredible efforts to save one of the most endangered mammals on the planet.

How you can help the Vaquita

Even though Mexico may be far away, you can make a difference and help the vaquita and other small cetaceans around the world:

  • Spread the word! Successful conservation action requires a broad public awareness and you can help spread the message. Talk to your friends and family about the vaquita and its desperate situation and tell them to do the same.
  • Send a message of support to the Mexican President, commend him for his efforts to save the vaquita and encourage him to continue to take action:Sr. Enrique Peña Nieto
    Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
    Presidencia de la República,
    Residencia Oficial de los Pinos
    Co. San Miguel Chapultepec 11850
    México, D.F.

    Postal mail may be a more effective option, but you may also opt to send an email using this form instead:

  • Purchase only seafood that has been caught with sustainable fishing methods. Sustainable seafood programs like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch or the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise programs help you identify ‘guilt-free’ seafood caught with fishing methods that aim to avoid accidental by-catch.

Learn more

Earlier this year, Porpoise Conservation Society president Dr. Anna Hall gave a presentation on the vaquita at the Vancouver Aquarium. Watch her talk and share the link!