Environmentalists attacked on Mexico porpoise patrol

The Sea Shepherd vessel M/V Farley Mowat has been operating in the Gulf of Mexico since 2018 as part of operation "Milagro
The Sea Shepherd vessel M/V Farley Mowat has been operating in the Gulf of Mexico since 2018 as part of operation "Milagro IV" to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise

Environmental group Sea Shepherd said Friday one of its ships had been attacked by 20 boats while patrolling off the coast of Mexico to protect the endangered vaquita marina porpoise from illegal fishermen.

Attackers on high-speed boats threw Molotov cocktails and large rocks at the M/V Farley Mowat in the Gulf of California on Thursday, shattering windows and igniting a fire on the patrol ship, Sea Shepherd said in a statement.

It is the second time the organization's patrol ships have come under attack in three weeks. A similar attack occurred in the same waters on January 9.

In the latest incident, the ship "was violently attacked by over 50 assailants posing as fishermen," said the US environmental group.

This handout photo released by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) shows a "Vaquita Marina" (Phocoena sinus) apparently d
This handout photo released by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) shows a "Vaquita Marina" (Phocoena sinus) apparently dead after being trapped in a net set by fishermen to catch Totoaba fish (Totoaba macdonaldi)
"Sea Shepherd crew members fended the attackers off using emergency fire hoses while Mexican navy soldiers and stationed on board opened fired into the air and sea to deter the attackers."

Video taken by showed the attackers aggressively approaching the ship and hurling projectiles that shattered its windows.

Sea Shepherd regularly patrols the vaquita marina refuge that Mexico has established in the Gulf of California.

The vaquita, the world's smallest porpoise, is nearly extinct. Saving it has become a cause celebre for the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

Conservationists blame the vaquita's plight on poachers setting nets to catch another species, the also-endangered totoaba fish, whose swim bladder is considered a delicacy in China and can fetch up to $20,000 on the black market.

Animal Welfare Institute members rally outside the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC in July 2018 to help save the endangered vaq
Animal Welfare Institute members rally outside the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC in July 2018 to help save the endangered vaquita porpoise

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© 2019 AFP

Citation: Environmentalists attacked on Mexico porpoise patrol (2019, February 2) retrieved 25 April 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-environmentalists-mexico-porpoise-patrol.html
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Feb 02, 2019
It's possible that the locals were concerned about having pirates nearby. They might have mistaken the pirate sign that the ship displays. On the other hand, there may be no confusion at all. The locals may be perfectly aware of the many acts of terrorism committed by Sea Shepard over the decades. With Sea Shepard's violent history, who knows what the background to this story is. They have no credibility, even if the did have government agents aboard at the time. In fact, I can only imagine how the whole event would have played out if there were no government agents on hand as witnesses.


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