Science

Fishing methods are devastating seas

A look at vaquita, the world's most endangered cetacean.

Archive This article is from our archive and might not display correctly. Download PDF
Image from Wildlife Speaks; Wild Lens


Vaquita isn't a name many people will be familiar with, although it is the world's most endangered cetacean. The endemic species, Phocoena sinus, resides in the northwest section of the Gulf of California.

Ever since the Baiji, or Yangtze River Dolphin went extinct in 2006, the vaquita took its place at the top of the critically endangered list. According to some sources, in 2017 there were less than 30 individuals left in the wild. What is more worrying is the estimate that only 12 individuals now remain. With a low fecundity (they produce one off-spring every two years), their future looks bleak.

But what is the reason for this species' decline? P. sinus' home range includes areas in which there are high levels of fishing with gill nets. These are nets which are designed to catch everything, if a fish swims into the mesh it becomes caught by its gills and cannot escape. The gillnets aren't set to catch the cetacean. They are set to catch totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi); they are highly sought after for traditional Chinese medicine, or more specifically, their swim bladder is. Even though the trade in totoaba swim bladders is illegal, a large enough organ can receive a very high price, and the black-market industry for them is now a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

Although there was a gillnet ban across the Gulf of California between 2015-2017, there was no enforcement by the Mexican government. As such, many fishermen still use these nets to hunt totoaba un-der the cover of darkness. The Chinese government cannot go without blame either; they have done nothing to halt the trade in their own borders. This practice is leading to the deaths of many vaquita, who tragically can become entangled in the nets and drown. With so few individuals left, it is possible that the vaquita will go extinct in the next few years, unless something drastic is done. This seems unlikely as the swim bladder market is just too lucrative.

Sadly, this is another example of the unethical nature of many economic practices. For example, the ivory trade makes poachers a lot of money, even though it is both illegal and immoral.

The same can be said for the palm oil trade. Many will be aware that recently, Iceland's Christmas advert was banned from public television due to its "political nature", though that hasn't stopped it going viral. It highlights how the palm oil industry is reducing the habitat of the orangutang, threatening this species with extinction. Palm oil isn't illegal, it is just highly disreputable.

It becomes clear that too many people are motivated by financial gain and do not look at the wider implications of their actions. This leads to practices which damage ecosystems and species. Unless there is a change of attitude or an incentive to partake in a different, less destructive industry, then in our lifetimes we could say goodbye to many critically endangered species.

In terms of the marine world, less destructive methods of fishing are a must. Gill nets and trawling destroy populations and habitats

at an unprecedented rate. If ecosystems aren't allowed to recover, then they will disappear completely. The irony in this is that the fishing industry needs these environments to continue. If they keep going the way they are, they will destroy their own

source of income. This has happened in the past and it could easily happen again. It may be too late to save the vaquita from extinction, but that doesn't mean we should give up. There are countless others that need protecting from us.

You Might Also Like...

29 Comments

Tina Denney Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

It is clear to me that humanity as a whole, are the cruelest, greedious, species to live on this planet, and it's getting to close to repair!! All creatures were created for a reason!! It is not our control as to what lives and what goes extinct!!! Humanity is not the only creatures , that are to survive, live, love, heal within their Family!!!! There are other answers [?][?][?]

Reply

Carmen Crespo Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Greedy humans are a shame! Using their power over defenseless animals and destroying the whole world.

Reply

Anonymous Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

These fishing methods are terrific, and I am glad you've told us about them here. I was going to read CHF Fishing Guide Venice to learn more about these methods, but I realize now that your methods are more useful.

Reply

raza Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.!
sushi

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

howdy, your websites are really good. I appreciate your work.
go to my blog

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.
click this site

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Thanks for your insight for your fantastic posting. I’m glad I have taken the time to see this.
Mississauga Mold Removal

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog
Atherosclerosis

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work.
bee hive removal

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

nice bLog! its interesting. thank you for sharing....
TLK

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts.
celebrity leather jackets

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.
3D printer australia

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Great info! I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have.
Geelong glass

Reply

Rosie Hughes Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I am so happy that read the redfish guide in Venice before taking my son for fishing. This allowed us to avoid all the rookie mistakes that people make when they go to Venice.

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Great Article it its really informative and innovative keep us posted with new updates. its was really valuable. thanks a lot.
duty to manage asbestos

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work.
bot ngu coc la gi

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. Thanks...
Best Electric Knife Sharpener

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post.
best solar panels in oakland

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives in depth information. Thanks for this nice article.
asphalt paving

Reply

calywico calywico Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.
myanmar maid agency

Reply

john bond Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it.
Barber Camberwell

Reply

farhan Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I'm glad I found this web site, I couldn't find any knowledge on this matter prior to.Also operate a site and if you are ever interested in doing some visitor writing for me if possible feel free to let me know, i am always look for people to check out my web site.
go to my blog

Reply

calywico calywico Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post.
flowchart

Reply

farhan fave Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post.
flowchart

Reply

farhan fave Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I read that Post and got it fine and informative.
Best Digital Notepads

Reply

jogazy jogazy Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

I read a article under the same title some time ago, but this articles quality is much, much better. How you do this..
the corona virus

Reply

farhan Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliant!
the travelers within

Reply

jogazy jogazy Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free.
webdesign

Reply

jogazy jogazy Posted on Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging,
free WordPress themes

Reply

Leave a comment

Disclaimer: this page is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.