A War is being fought in the Sea of Cortés off the Coast of Mexico. Gillnets are enormous walls of death that will catch and kill anything that comes in contact with it—This Causes major issues with bycatch. Unfortunately, Locals do not care, and with the influence of the Mexican Drug Cartel and the Chinese Mafia, there is not much in their way of stopping this issue. Their target catch is called a Totoaba. Its swim bladder is sold on the black market to Asia countries because it is believed to hold medicinal properties, but this has never been scientifically proven. One Totoaba swim bladder has been seen to cost $20,000 to $80,000 per kilogram more than the price of gold, earning the nickname the cocaine of the sea. This high price has caused the Totoaba and other fish in their habitat to become threatened. One animal, in particular, has been hit extremely hard. the Vaquita, this small, shy porpoise, has a population of less than ten left. The use of gillnets is the direct link to their population is so low. The vaquita has no black market price. Many locals don't even believe it to be a real animal because of how rare sightings are—convincing them to change their ways to conserve this precious animal is extremely difficult. All hope is not yet lost. A group of retired military and government intelligence officials call Sea Shepard is fighting back, trying to choke out the cartel and mafia to save these creatures, putting many of their followers behind bars. The local cartels have started to kidnap fisherman and their children with the promise of money with no intention to fulfill that promise. In turn, Sea Shepard has also begun to become a rescue service for these people. The war being fought in the Sea of Cortés needs to end. The issue with the vaquita is a reflection of what humanity is doing to the world. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo are preparing for the worst storing DNA if they need to bring back the population. You can help too; there are several things you can do;
Educate yourself, just by visiting different sites to learn more about a topic like this one is already helping the more people who know, the more people can help.
Artwork by Rachel Ivanyi go check out her site by clicking the image. Each piece of art is made with education and conservation in mind. I love her art.