Saving a Species: Vaquita
Fishing Boat in the Gulf of California
Gustavo Ybarra, WWF-Canon
Found in the waters of the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is the world’s smallest porpoise and the only cetacean endemic to North America. It is also the world’s most endangered marine mammal—estimates state fewer than 100 individuals remain.
The vaquita’s rapid decline is primarily due to bycatch from artisanal fishing operations. An increasing demand in the Chinese market for the swim bladders of the totaba (a species of fish that shares the habitat of the vaquita) has led to the emergence of illegal fishing in the area. This illegal fishing, in addition to the traditional practice of using catch-all gill nets, has increased the risk of extinction for the vaquita.
From designing more responsible fishing nets to cracking down on illegal fishing, numerous groups are working to save the vaquita. Join WWF-US on June 25th at 4:30 to listen to Dr. Rebecca Lent and Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Branco speak about the important work being done by both the US and Mexico to save the Vaquita from extinction.
When: June 25th, 2015 at 4:30-5:30 PM. Reception to follow.
Who: Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, Ph.D., Head of the Organization for Marine Mammal Research and Conservation at the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change in Mexico; Rebecca Lent, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Commission; and Enrique Sanjurjo, Gulf of California Program, WWF-Mexico
Moderated by: Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President, Wildlife Conservation
Where: WWF-US Headquaters, 2nd Floor Conference Center
1250 24th Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20037
Dr. Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho heads the Coordination for Marine Mammal Research and Conservation, National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, in Mexico. He has promoted integrated researches from different countries to better understanding the marine mammals of Mexico. He was one of the two cruise leaders in the joint surveys with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) de La Jolla, California, EUA, to estimate the vaquita population size in 1997 and 2008. He also established and Chairs the International Committee for the Recovery of Vaquita (CIRVA). He has authored or co-authored over 80 scholarly articles, book chapters and technical reports on marine mammals. He also has participated in various working groups and committees for the conservation of marine mammals, among them International Whaling Commission (IWC)’s Scientific Committee, IUCN’s Cetacean Specialist Group and The Red List Authority. He has served the Committee of Scientific Advisors, the Nominations and Elections Committee and the Board of the Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM).
Dr. Rebecca Lent is the Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Commission. A marine economist by training, she earned a Ph.D. in Resource Economics from Oregon State University. After completing her dissertation, she conducted post-doctoral research in France on the ex-vessel market impacts of government minimum prices. Dr. Lent then moved to Canada to teach and conduct research in agricultural and resource economics at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (1984-86) and Université Laval (1986-1992). In 1992 she joined the Highly Migratory Species Division at NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, where she served as Economist and then Division Chief. Dr. Lent joined the Senior Executive Service in 2000, serving as the Regional Administrator of the Southwest Region, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, and the Director of the Office of International Affairs. She joined the Marine Mammal Commission in 2013.