MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has launched a plan to save the critically endangered vaquita marina, the world's smallest porpoise.
There are fewer than 100 vaquitas left in the Sea of Cortez, which is also known as the Gulf of California and is the only place on Earth where they are found.
The head of the World Wildlife Fund in Mexico calls the shy, elusive vaquita "an emblematic species for Mexico, the equivalent of the panda for China." Omar Vidal says the vaquita is threatened by gillnet fishing for totoaba, a big fish whose swim bladder is prized by chefs in China.
The new plan prohibits gill net use in much of the northern gulf. Pena Nieto handed over keys to new patrol boats that will enforce the net ban.