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Critically Endangered Porpoise May Be Doomed To Extinction

Date:
January 16, 2008
Source:
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Summary:
An international research team 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.

Photos of vaquita in the wild are extremely rare. These animals died in fishing nets and are being examined by scientists for research purposes.
Credit: Alejandro Robles/Executive Presidente Noroeste Sustentable Initiative/taken south of el Golfo de Santa Clara in March 1985

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. "Critically Endangered Porpoise May Be Doomed To Extinction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080115092057.htm>.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. (2008, January 16). Critically Endangered Porpoise May Be Doomed To Extinction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080115092057.htm
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. "Critically Endangered Porpoise May Be Doomed To Extinction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080115092057.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

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