The ocean campaigners are sending frontline ships into the troubled waters of the Gulf of California to stop desperate crime gangs wiping out the vaquita – the so-called Panda of the Seas.
Only 30 the five-feet long porpoises are left alive, with a recent rescue mission to move them away from the deadly nets of poachers floundering when one died.
Vaquita have been all but wiped out by poachers desperate to catch a rare fish called the totoaba which is coveted by the Chinese middle classes.
Illegal nets cast to catch the totoaba – dubbed “aquatic cocaine” as they can sell for £30,000 each on the Far East black market where they are hailed as a fertility supplement – end up drowning the unfortunate vaquita.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society today announced it is sending two ships in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez to mount a six-month patrol to protect the critically endangered porpoise in an operation code-named Milagro IV.
A video has also been released to show how it is working with the Mexico army, navy and police forces to prevent the vaquita’s imminent descent into oblivion.
The Sea Shepherd’s vessel Farley Mowat will be teaming up with another ship called the John Paul DeJoria to work alongside the Mexican authorities to protect the vaquita marine reserve, remove poachers’ nets and also collect vital scientific data to help the porpoise.
Campaign Leader Jean Paul Geoffroy said: “We must have a higher regard for ocean life if these species are to survive. Human greed and lack of respect for the oceans is responsible for near-wipeout of the vaquita.
“If it goes extinct, that’s another broken link in the eco-chain and one step closer to our own extinction. Sea Shepherd will not give up its fight to save the vaquita and the totoaba.”
This is the fourth year Sea Shepherd campaigners have played a vital role protecting the planet’s last vaquita, a species only discovered as new to science in 1958.
Sea Shepherd Founder and chief executive…