Mexico hopes fish farming can help save endangered porpoise
In this July 8, 2017 file photo, a young woman with the World Wildlife Fund carries a papier mache replica of the critically endangered porpoise known as the vaquita marina, during an event in front of the National Palace in Mexico City. Researchers in Mexico were thrilled to have captured one of the few remaining vaquita porpoises on Saturday, Nov. 4, but the adult female died after a few hours in captivity in a floating pen, raising questions about the last-ditch effort to enclose the world’s smallest porpoises to save them from extinction. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
MEXICO CITY — Mexico hopes fish farming can help weaken the illegal market for the totoaba fish and help save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise, of which less than 30 survive.
Poachers in Mexico have long caught vaquitas in nets set for totoaba, which is itself an endangered species. Totoaba swim bladders are a prized delicacy in China.
Mexico’s environment department said Friday it plans to invest in three fish farms to raise 300,000 juvenile totoaba to “control the illegal trafficking” of the species.
At least one company currently raises Totoaba from hatchlings in the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, the only place both species are found.
Fishing for totoaba is prohibited in the Gulf of California, but the high prices traffickers pay make that hard to enforce. /muf