Critically endangered porpoise is focus of new research report

Jan 15, 2008

An international research team, including biologists from NOAA’s Fisheries Service, reported in the scientific journal Conservation Biology, that the estimated population of vaquita, a porpoise found in the Gulf of California, is likely two years away from reaching such low levels that their rate to extinction will increase and possibly be irreversible. Scientists believe only about 150 vaquita remain.

The research team, led by Armando Jaramillo, Instituto Nacional de Ecología, Mexico, included researchers Barbara Taylor, NOAA’s Fisheries Service, and Randy Reeves Reeves, Chair of the Cestacean Specialist Group, IUCN – the World Conservation Union.

The group assessed the number of vaquita based on past estimates of abundance and deaths in fishing nets together with current fishing effort. Approximately 30 vaquita drown each year in the Gulf of California when they become entangled in nets set for fish and shrimp.

Vaquita are found only in a small area of productive, shallow water in the northernmost Gulf of California. They are listed as endangered species by the United States and Mexico and critically endangered by the World Conservation Union.

Researchers cite worrisome parallels between vaquita and the baiji, a freshwater dolphin in the Yangtze River, which was recently declared likely to be extinct; primarily from entanglement in fishing gear.

Source: National Marine Fisheries Service

Explore further: Professor co-authors book on sustainable transportation at national parks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

World's rarest cetacean threatened by illegal gillnets

Dec 14, 2014

The world's rarest cetacean could disappear in less than four years unless immediate action is taken by the Mexican government to protect it from entanglement in gillnets deployed illegally in its Gulf of California refuge, ...

Mexico, N. Zealand pressed to save marine mammals

Jul 06, 2012

A scientific body urged Mexico and New Zealand to take immediate action to prevent the extinction of small marine mammals that are being killed by gillnets set by the fishing industry.

Study shows best places to protect marine mammals

Aug 01, 2011

(AP) -- From sea otters to blue whales, marine mammals are under stress from climate change, ocean acidification, hunting and other threats. Researchers have identified 20 important sites around the world ...

Whales and dolphins in hot water

Jun 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- More whales, dolphins and porpoises than was previously thought could be at risk from the effects of climate change, according to a new study.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.