Upper Gulf of California

October 2009

Reprieve for Mexico's endangered vaquita porpoise

The Mexican government under pressure from BioGems Defenders agreed to place strict protections on the last remaining habitat of the imperiled vaquita marina porpoise. Mexico's landmark resolution sharply limits shrimp trawling by large industrial boats in the Upper Gulf of California, where only 150 of these small porpoises survive today. During the summer of 2009, BioGems Defenders sent nearly 30,000 messages urging Mexican officials to strengthen protections for the vaquita. Thanks to their activism, an area designated as a vaquita refuge is now off-limits to fishing and the number of shrimp trawlers allowed in the rest of the Upper Gulf has been restricted to 82 boats from 400 at the start of our campaign. Moreover, the remaining trawlers must put measures in place to ensure that vaquitas and other rare marine life do not become accidentally ensnared in their nets.