Monday, June 24, 2024

Conservationist urges Mexico adopt ‘blue label’ standard to protect vaquita

A prominent Mexican conservationist has highlighted the importance of sustainable fishing to the ongoing survival of the vaquita marina, a critically endangered porpoise that is endemic to the upper Gulf of California.

Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, director of the VaquitaCPR (Conservation, Protection and Recovery) Project, told the newspaper Zeta Tijuana that the Marine Stewardship Council’s blue label needs to be promoted in Mexico as part of measures to protect the vaquita, of which as few as nine are believed to remain.

“The blue MSC label is only applied to wild fish or seafood from fisheries that have been certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard, a set of requirements for sustainable fishing,” Marine Stewardship Council says on its website.

“… Sustainable seafood comes from fisheries that catch fish in ways that ensure the long-term health of a stock or species and the well-being of the ocean.”

This dead vaquita was recovered from the Gulf of California in 2018.
This dead vaquita was recovered from the Gulf of California in 2018.

Rojas-Bracho noted that vaquitas become entangled and die in gillnets used to catch both totoaba — a fish prized in China for its swim bladder — and shrimp.

If businesses such as supermarkets and restaurants only bought and sold blue label seafood, fishermen who want to sell their catch here would presumably be dissuaded from using such nets. Gillnets — which also entangle marine species such as sea turtles and small sharks — are already banned in the upper Gulf of California, but enforcement has been lax.

Rojas-Bracho observed that the “blue market” for sustainable seafood is already well developed in the United States and Europe. But the same can’t be said about Mexico.

However, the conservationist believes there is an opportunity to develop a sustainable seafood market that is a source of national pride. According to the Marine Stewardship Council,  four Mexican fisheries are already MSC certified: a red lobster fishery, two small open sea fisheries and a tuna fishery.

“The Mexican market is … increasingly interested in sustainable seafood products,” the non-profit organization says on its website.

“In collaboration with the Mexican campaign PescaConFuturo, the MSC has highlighted the importance of maintaining healthy fish stocks to guarantee food and economic security for future generations and to safeguard the natural wealth of the Mexican waters.”

With reports from Zeta Tijuana 

Have something to say? Paid Subscribers get all access to make & read comments.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announces the new sanctions against La Nueva Familia Michoacana, speaking at a podium

US announces new sanctions targeting members of La Nueva Familia Michoacana

U.S. officials said the sanctions target leaders, lieutenants and an assassin working for the criminal organization La Nueva Familia Michoacana.
A fisherman points out the bubbling "water eye" in the ocean off Cozumel Island, with a cruise ship and another fishing boat in the background.

Churning ‘water eye’ appears off coast of Cozumel Island in Quintana Roo

The phenomenon is a result of the Yucatán Peninsula's unusual geology.
A person pours water on his face under blazing sun

Heat-related death toll climbs to 155, more than doubling in 3 weeks

Tabasco and Veracruz account for nearly half of all heat-related fatalities in the country so far this year.