2017 Year of the Vaquita

If you missed the news, it’s not good. There are only 60 vaquita left in the entire world. This small porpoise is only found in the Gulf of California in Mexico. Vaquita are the most endangered marine mammal species in the world.

If we do not help now, vaquita could become the SECOND whale species to go extinct in 10 years.  Scientists declared the Chinese (baiji) river dolphin extinct in 2006. Sadly, with little or no fanfare.  We can’t allow that to happen to vaquita.

WhaleTimes and the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network are working with vaquita experts from Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries and other organizations to raise awareness. We have declared 2017 the Year of the Vaquita. And annually March is Save the Vaquita Month.

Is your seafood vaquita-friendly? It’s simple and yet the most important thing you can do to protect so many species. People who do not insist on sustainably caught seafood are a big part of the problem. (Sorry, we do not have time to sugar-coat this one).

Start TODAY. If you eat shrimp, fish, or other seafood it must be sustainably caught. If you do not know the how it was caught, if other animals were killed in the process, and/or you cannot trace its route from the sea to your plate do not buy it, eat it, or sell it. If the restaurant does not have a sustainable seafood policy, find another one. If your grocery store does not have a sustainable seafood policy, buy elsewhere. Buy locally and sustainably caught seafood whenever you can.

Is there time? We think so. The Pacific gray whales almost went extinct — twice. Northern elephant seals, bald eagles and others almost became extinct, too. Public awareness and concern helped turn the tide and now gray whales, elephant seals, and bald eagles have large healthy populations. Let’s do that for vaquita!

Though 2017 is the Year of the Vaquita, help us start saving the vaquita today.

More to come.