Wild Lens, Inc. travelled to Mexico in mid-March, to screen a documentary film illustrating the plight of this tiny marine mammal that is only found in the northern Gulf of California. The film portrays the species' situation, that of a harmless yet severely endangered animal getting caught up in nets meant to illegally catch the also-endangered species, a fish call the totoaba bass. Illegal gillnets are used to catch specific sea life and, while the vaquita are not a target species for the Mexican fisherpeople, they're getting captured as by-catch and die as a result.
As of the most recent population census carried out by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita, the total remaining vaquita may not even top thirty individuals, which is down 50% from last year and yet, within just the past couple of weeks, three of the precious few left have been found dead. Just before Wild Lens team leaders Sean Bogle and Matthew Podolsky were scheduled to screen the film in Mexico on March 13th, a good deal of unrest took place in El Golfo de Santa Clara, one of the two fishing communities most impacted by the fishing regulations recently put into place to protect the vaquita.
"Frustrated fisherman set fire to government vehicles and marched in the streets in protest of restrictions placed on the corvina fishery, which they rely on the make a living." -VaquitaFilm.org blog
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